Apply to take your business to the next level.


Need Funding for Your Business? Start Here.

What is Launch?

Launch is a community-based effort led and funded by local financial institutions, that was created to help Lakeland’s entrepreneurs take their business concept to the next level. Launch provides micro-grants up to $10,000 to entrepreneurs who meet the requirements, fill out the application, and successfully pitch their concepts to Launch’s investment team. Additionally, we have recently added an opportunity for college students to pitch for up to $2,500 in funding for their business concept.

It’s like Shark Tank but with happy people.

6 Pitch Nights

$123,521 Funded

13 Grants Awarded

Frequently Asked Questions

You must meet the following requirements in order to obtain grant money:

  • Applicants must be 18 years or older.
  • Business must be between 6 months and 5 years old.
  • You must have sales and proof of concept.
  • Business must be located in Lakeland, Florida.
  • Business must have had less than $1,000,000 in sales the previous year.
  • Business must be a formed legal entity.
  • Applicants must not be eligible for traditional bank lending.
  • It must be a “new to Lakeland” concept (meaning that you provide something that is unique and not just another Starbucks or hair salon etc.).
  • The grant money must be used to scale business beyond solely increasing revenue (hiring employees, expanding space etc.).

If you have questions about whether you fit these requirements, email Christin Strawbridge at

You can apply for any amount up to $10,000. Judges will decide on the amount awarded, if any.

Launch micro-grant money cannot be used for the following:

  • Personal Items
  • Legal Fees
  • Hiring Staff
  • Purchasing Property
  • Items that require unsecured additional funding to complete the project
  • Projects related to: Real Estate, Accounting, Insurance
  • Nonprofits
  • Religiously-affiliated businesses
  • Businesses that do not have a Lakeland zip code. Other Polk County zip codes do not qualify (i.e. – Mulberry, Bartow, Auburndale, etc.).
  • Marketing
  • Inventory

Does the money have to be paid back in full?

  • No, this is a grant, not a loan.
  • However, if you receive a grant, we ask that you invest 25% of Launch’s initial investment back into the fund within 24 months.
  • Launch recipients will be invoiced monthly for the 25% give back portion 3 months following the use of the grant money.
  • Grantees will be required to give regular reports of what they have done with the money as well as the outcome of the investment.

Born and Bread Bakehouse was a grant recipient in 2016 for the purchase of a double stack convection oven to increase production, capacity, and staff.




Meet Requirements (above) & Review Launch Rules



Complete Application



If selected, attend the Pitch Workshop

Student Micro-Grant

We love our local colleges and universities and are excited about learning more about student businesses in our area. If you are a student interested in applying for up to $2,500, you can contact Robert, our Education Director, using the button below to learn more.

2019 Dates 

Applications Open: Now

Applications Due: Wednesday, October 23rd

Pitch Workshop: Thursday, November 7th

Next Pitch Night: Thursday, November 14th

Countdown to Pitch Night








Past Grant Recipients

2019 LAUNCH Pitch Night

Our 2019 LAUNCH Pitch Night saw four business owners receive micro-grant funding for their companies.

Reeve’s Lawncare

Dave Reeves received a grant of $10,000 towards his startup company, Reeve’s Lawn Care, a full…

Boondock Studios

Boondock Studios makes handmade leather goods, woven fibers, hand-cut stone products, and other…

Cheeses & Crust

Cheeses & Crust received a grant of $10,000. This unique startup focuses on providing fresh-to-order grilled…

Steed Armor

Justyna Thomson of Steed Armor received a grant of $10,000. Steed Armor creates high-quality saddle..

Little Remi

Chase & Shannon Webber of Little Remi received a grant of $6,500. Little Remi sells all natural products…

The Balance Culture

The Balance Culture received a grant of $10,000 in order to purchase 21 spin bikes for their women’s fitness…

Rane Made

Raney Wade, owner of Rane Made, received a grant of $5,000 in order to purchase sewing machines that…

Journey Box Media

Kevin O’Brien received a $10,000 grant to purchase camera equipment that will will help elevate the quality…

New Sound Acoustics

Noel Rosa, founder of New Sound Acoustics, received a $10,000 grant to increase his inventory in order to…

A Cow Named MOO

Patrick & Sarah Mulcahy received a $10,000 grant to purchase commercial equipment that will…

Born & Bread Bakehouse

Jenn Smurr, Owner and Founder, received a $9,000 grant to purchase a new double stack oven. This will…