Downtown Strong is a program to build micro-enterprise. It has three components:

  • CO.STARTER – a 9 week cohort to help you take your business from scratch to success or build an existing business. More details on CO.STARTER can be found here. 
  • START UP SPACE – free or low cost lease space in the downtown core to enable a qualified business to open with the opportunity to expand after 12 months.  To see the guidelines for this program, see below.
  • INSTACRAFTY – This spring, makers will be able to apply to participate in two markets to be held at the Pavilion at Founders. Details will be available soon!

Downtown Strong Start Up Space Program:

The goal of the Downtown Strong Start Up Space Program is to create vibrancy and ensure a healthy business diversity in Downtown Johnson City by supporting new business concepts. Through the generosity of the City of Johnson City, the financial support of the Tennessee Economic & Community Development Council, Johnson City Development Authority and the leadership of the Economic Vitality Committee an underutilized storefront in the heart of downtown has been refurbished and is being offered at a reduced market rate to new small business owners.   In addition to a reduced rate, the future participant in the program will receive close business mentorship and coaching to help encourage business success.  By supporting and investing in local entrepreneurs the Downtown Strong Start Up Space Program intends to develop local and regional talent to strengthen our downtown community and promote a healthy, vibrant, and diverse business environment.


Downtown Strong Start Up Space Program

Downtown Strong Start Up Space Statement of Understanding & Agreement

For more information about how you can begin a business in Downtown Johnson City, please contact Dianna Cantler at