Spotlight Waterloo

What is Spotlight Waterloo? 

SPOTLIGHT WATERLOO is a community development funding program, created by the Uptown Waterloo Business Improvement Area (BIA), to encourage and support organizers in bringing vibrant and diverse events to Uptown Waterloo.

Spotlight Waterloo encourages events that build a positive and collaborative environment and support existing businesses in the Uptown core. Organizers must match 50% of project expenses and may receive up to $5000 for Spotlight Waterloo approved events. BIA funds will be given in two increments, half of the approved prior to the event, and the last half once final receipts and reports have been provided.



In order to qualify for Spotlight Waterloo funding, events must meet the following criteria for funding. Applications are due a minimum of sixty (60) days in advance of the event.

Event criteria:

  • Be accessible and open to the public;
  • Promote a unique cultural experience;
  • Encourage development of community partnerships;
  • Involve support to a minimum of two (2) Uptown businesses;
  • Build pride in Uptown Waterloo.
  • Events that require street closures should apply for a Special Event Permit through the City of Waterloo.

Spotlight Waterloo funds will not be processed or awarded to the following:

  • Individuals for the purpose of private or business gain;
  • Events that are exclusionary or target specific groups only;
  • Applicants who have failed to successfully carry out a project for which funding has previously been awarded;
  • Applicants who fail to properly document the minimum 50% contribution to their overall project cost;
  • Government agencies;
  • Political or partisan groups;
  • Universities, Colleges, or their exclusive groups;
  • Associations or Organizations that wish to hold events outside of the Uptown Waterloo core.

Spotlight Waterloo funds may not be spent on the following:

  • Operating expenses;
  • Purchase of land or buildings;
  • Travel expenses, including hotel costs;
  • Ongoing programs or services that are already directly funded by the Uptown Waterloo BIA.


We are currently accepting applications for events happening this year. Please read through the following information and apply via the link below.



Special Note
Some events may require special event permits from the City of Waterloo. It is the responsibility of the event organizer to procure appropriate permits, in advance of their events.

In addition to special event permits, organizers may be required to purchase Commercial General Liability insurance. This would be requested to limit the liability to the applicant as well as the Uptown Waterloo BIA and the City of Waterloo. It is the responsibility of the organizer to procure insurance, though the BIA may advise if it is needed, upon review of the project application.



Once the application has been received, the BIA will review the submitted information. Applicants may be asked to provide additional details, or be offered conditions on the application.



Approved applications will be notified via email.



As noted above, Spotlight Waterloo funds will be given in two increments, half of the approved amount prior to the event and the last half once final receipts and reports have been provided.



A written report outlining the details of the completed event is required, including but not limited to; successes, failures, photos, necessary improvements, and any available analytics.  Event reports are due within thirty (30) days after the completion of the event, with reimbursement to follow.

If you have any questions feel free to contact us at: or 519-885-1921