Partner to Empower

Frequently asked questions


The Partner to Empower application will take approximately 30 minutes and will require the following:

  • Personal and business contact information
  • A written description of your business detailing your product or service, your story, your goals, and your current location information (if applicable)
  • Current estimated annual revenue and funding
  • Statement regarding minority-owned status as defined in the application
  • The Brookfield Properties mall you are most interested in
  • At least one photo of your product or service

When filling out the application you will have the option to save your progress and complete it at a later time. Make sure you have access to the email address that you provide, as this is where all important communications regarding the program and your application status will be sent.

We are passionate about finding businesses that want to open their first brick-and-mortar store or expand their portfolio of existing locations. We’re looking for business owners of color that are:

  • Interested in opening a store within the Brookfield Properties U.S. mall portfolio.
  • At a point in their growth to be able to open a brick-and-mortar store. This includes having the correct funding to support their business operations and inventory outside of any funding that the program may provide.
  • Ready for the commitment to sign a license agreement, ideally for a minimum of two years, in which both parties agree on factors such as rent price and store design.
  • Specifically selling a product or service that has an opportunity to excel in a particular mall. Each mall has a unique category mix to which we do not want to over index, as the key to a successful shopping center is to have a differentiated offering of retailers and services.
  • Eager to join our free, four-week, virtual Retail Workshop to best ensure their store’s success.

If you are not ready to open a store yet, you may still be accepted into the program to participate in the Retail Workshop. We review applications on a case-by-case basis and if accepted, will work together to get you where you need to be!

Partner to Empower funding opportunities are unique to each business and can help cover expenses associated with opening a physical store within the Brookfield Properties mall portfolio. When accepted into the program, if your business is at the right stage to begin the store opening process, we will work through the details of a license agreement and discuss any potential funding support that may be available to assist with that process. Funding opportunities are assessed and allocated on a 1:1 basis and will look different for every executed deal.

Brookfield Properties recognizes the systemic racial barriers that members of our communities face when starting or expanding their business. We also recognize that business owners of color currently make up a small fraction of business owners in the U.S. At Brookfield Properties, we know that our area of expertise in retail can help address and break down these inequalities in our industry, and that we needed to take action.

Pulling together our expertise, our friends in the communities we reside in, retail industry leaders, and funding opportunities, we built Partner to Empower as a commitment to business owners of color so that they can access the opportunities they have the right to pursue.

Partner to Empower was created to drive equity in the retail industry by creating opportunities for historically marginalized communities. We are seeking for-profit small businesses, wherein socially disadvantaged* individuals own a significant interest (e.g., majority ownership) and also control management and daily business operations.

*Business owners of color, including but not limited to Black, Indigenous, Hispanic, Asian and Pacific Islander Americans are presumed to be socially disadvantaged. Other individuals can also qualify as socially disadvantaged on a case-by-case basis.

Our malls are constantly evolving, and we will work together with accepted applicants on their business goals and expansion strategies to figure out which markets and shopping centers are best for them. Each mall has a unique category mix to which we do not want to over index, and our tenants are most successful when we have a differentiated offering of retailers and services. For example, you wouldn’t want to open a bakery at a mall that already has three bakeries — you’d want to open in a mall where you could stand out! If the location you’re interested in isn’t the best match for your business, we will discuss other malls and opportunities in your target area. Occasionally, we may have to wait to open your store until there is availability.

Partner to Empower is led by our team of retail business experts, and they will guide you through the application process. While you may receive communication sooner, please allow up to 4-6 weeks for us to contact you regarding next steps or updates on the status of your application. Here’s what you can expect if you’re selected to move forward at that time:

  • Video interview with our team. This will take approximately one hour and we will dive into the details of your business or idea, your preferred store locations/markets, and potentially begin discussing available spaces. Learn more about some of the individuals you may meet with here.
  • Financial review to be completed — this will be free to applicants.
  • Final decisions can be made within a few days of your interview, up to two or three weeks after the application submission date closes. At that time, the details of negotiating your license agreement and participation in the Retail Workshop will begin.

A license agreement is a document that details the specifics of opening a store in one of our malls, including important information regarding rent cost, store location and square footage, the length of your lease, and the responsibilities of both tenant and landlord. The license agreement will be negotiated between both parties. You do not have to sign if there are details you are uncomfortable with. Leases will ideally be signed for a minimum of two years, though we could experiment with a pop-up first.

Partner to Empower opportunities are available nationwide across our U.S. portfolio of malls. When filling out the application, let us know which property is your first choice as a jumping-off point. We will work together on your business goal and expansion strategy to figure out which markets and shopping centers are perfect for you.

It is not required that you reside in the state or region you would like to open your business in, nor does your business need to be previously located there — you just need to be able to fully staff and operate a physical store in your desired region.

No. Any awarded Partner to Empower funding is a grant and does not need to be paid back to Brookfield Properties.

While Partner to Empower was created to provide business owners of color with funding to support the expenses associated with building out a physical store within our portfolio, there may be other resources available outside of this program that can guide your business as well. We encourage you to view these additional resources.

We’ve built a network of support through partnering with national and local organizations, banks, businesses, and retail leaders to break down the many barriers in building and expanding a successful business. For those accepted into the program, this culminates in a four-week, virtual Retail Workshop hosted by Brookfield Properties, which will be facilitated by our friends at Global Core Strategies & Consulting. And yes, the Retail Workshop is free for those accepted into the Partner to Empower program — it is our commitment to your success.

More than 30 facilitators will each give a course on their area of expertise, collectively creating a comprehensive foundation on how to run a successful physical retail business. Topics covered include:

  • Store operations
  • Store design and merchandising
  • Business banking
  • Funding and capital
  • POS systems and inventory
  • Marketing, branding, and PR
  • Human resources and staffing
  • Developing business models
  • Franchising
  • Leadership and people management
  • Business law, leases, and risk management

About 40 participants will attend the workshop, with each session creating great networking and learning opportunities. Get ready to work through your business challenges together and create lasting friendships. We build each other up.

During the application and selection process, your program liaison will discuss your candidacy for the Retail Workshop. We expect participants to show up each week and learn, so this may take some coordination of your schedule and responsibilities during this time.

Please visit our Partner to Empower home page for specifics on the available dates for the Retail Workshop.

Congratulations! Here’s what you should do next:

  • Accept your invite to the Retail Workshop.
  • Discuss space and lease negotiations with your program liaison.
  • Once your license agreement is signed, your store build-out will begin! You will work with someone at Brookfield Properties throughout this process. Build-out can take anywhere from a few weeks to six months, depending on complexity.
  • Brookfield Properties will support you with your new store opening plans, helping to advertise your business on the mall marketing channels, as well as give tips on your personal marketing plan.
  • Continue check-ins with your program liaison. Do not hesitate to reach out if you have questions or need help!
  • Begin networking with your Retail Workshop cohort.

We are always looking to expand the community aligned with our passion to support small businesses owned by people of color. If you would like to become a partner of the program, participate as a presenter during our Retail Workshop, or would simply like to help us spread the word, please contact us.

For media inquiries, please contact us.