FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — On February 16, applications for Brookfield Properties’ Partner to Empower program opened for the Pinnacle Hills Promenade in Rogers, with the goal of aiding local Black and minority-owned businesses through funding, resources and retail expertise.

According to a press release, the Partner to Empower Program is a resource designed to help underserved communities grow their business with a brick-and-mortar location at Brookfield Properties shopping centers. Brookfield Properties has committed to investing up to $25 million in the Partner to Empower Program through 2025, dedicated to the many costs of building out a store.

In addition, both business and industry experts will be available to support program participants throughout the partnership. The first round of the program, which ran in the spring of 2021, brought in hundreds of applications throughout the Southeast region of the country.

Applications for the program will be open from Feb. 16 – March 18 at www.partnertoempower.com. Applicants advancing to the next round will move onto the interview stage, where the applicant will present their finances, business goals and overall business story to a panel of Brookfield Properties representatives. If the applicant makes it through to the next round, they will enter the store build-out stage and/or they will participate in Brookfield Properties’ Partner to Empower Retail Workshop, where they’ll learn about the fundamentals of building a successful business.

“We want to reflect the markets of each of our centers by giving an advantage to the small businesses of under-represented groups that would benefit most,” said Michelle Isabel, vice president of retail business development at Brookfield Properties. “The first round of Partner to Empower completely surpassed our expectations. We’re eager to open this next round of the program so that we can continue to grow the partnership between Brookfield and minority-owned businesses. By helping these entrepreneurs with the necessary resources to succeed, we hope it will lead us in the right direction to better our communities.”

The Partner to Empower Program is designed for entrepreneurs who are either ready or want to open a physical storefront. The program expands nationwide in 2022, with the year’s first round of applications open to malls in Alabama, Arkansas, Illinois, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas and Wisconsin. Additional rounds of applications will open throughout 2022.