Mar 25, 2024 - News

Denver offers money to businesses owned by women, minorities to improve environmental impact

Illustration of a Black woman's hands holding the city of Denver.

Illustration: Axios Visuals

Applications are open for a Denver program helping women- and minority-owned businesses with up to $10,000 to make their companies more environmentally friendly.

Why it matters: The Certifiably Green Denver Equity Funding program is connected to the city's overall effort to significantly curb greenhouse emissions by 2030.

How it works: The program gives local businesses money to upgrade buildings to reduce energy, waste and water, city climate action office spokesperson Emily Gedeon tells us.

The big picture: More than $600,000 in funding to eligible businesses has been provided by the program since 2022, according to Gedeon.

Zoom in: Funding recipients Whittier Cafe and Sullivan's Scrap Kitchen installed more energy-efficient dishwashers, while CADREC, an addiction treatment center, used the money to replace its windows with Energy Star-rated ones to help reduce energy use.

  • Whittier Cafe owner Millete Birhanemaskel tells us she learned about the program while trying to find a way to winterize her shop.
  • She used $9,905 from the program to purchase two energy-star-rated appliances that use less energy.

Between the lines: Additional eligibility requirements for businesses include:

  • Having a physical location in Denver (home-based enterprises aren't eligible), projects pursuing the city's sustainability goals, and meeting federal basic standards for small businesses.

What's next: The program will start disbursing money on a rolling basis starting next month, Gedeon tells us.

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