City of Charlotte logo with Charlotte skyline at night

About City of Charlotte

Charlotte is one of the 25 largest cities in the U.S. and the largest city in North Carolina. With over 800,000 people living and working in our community, we’re only continuing to grow! The City of Charlotte provides services to support its growing population with the following committees: Workforce & Business Development, Transportation, Planning & Environment, Safe Communities, Budget & Effectiveness, and Intergovernmental Relations. And if you’re an entrepreneur looking to start or grow your business in Charlotte, look no further than the City for the resources you need. With information on codes and ordinances, permits and licenses, relocating and much, much more, the City of Charlotte is here to help your business, every step of the way.


The City of Charlotte is constantly striving to make Charlotte an even better place to live and work. For tools and information that will help you start your business, visit them online!

Getting Started
The information surrounding licensing and permitting can be overwhelming. The City of
Charlotte makes things more manageable, with a portal of information on a variety of topics, including zoninginspectionsregistering alarm systemsrunning a home-based businessoperating a vehicle for hire and more. To learn more about the specific
licensing and permitting requirements, click here.

Need a little more help? OpenCounter is a tool designed to guide entrepreneurs like you through the permitting process. Visit for everything you ever wanted to know about permitting a business in Charlotte!

Commercial and Personal Property

If you’re looking for information on the permits and licenses needed for commercial and personal property in Charlotte, who better to help than the City themselves!

Learn about zoning: When it comes to Charlotte’s zoning regulations, the City of Charlotte can connect you to the resources and people you need to get your questions answered!

Get a fire inspection: All new building, additions to existing buildings, renovations and upfits, and changes of use to an existing building require a fire inspection in Charlotte. Learn more about how the City of Charlotte can help make this happen, and request your inspection now!

Register an alarm system: In addition to a fire inspection, you’ll also need to register your alarm system with the City of Charlotte. Access the alarm permit application and more here.

Operate your business from home: Running a business from home? You’ll need a permit for that. Learn more from the City of Charlotte. You can check out a Sample Customary Home Occupation Permit Application too!

Get assistance for land development projects: Whether you’re a citizen, a developer, or a contractor, the City of Charlotte connects you to the information you need to start a land development project in Charlotte. Access the portal here!

Food, Beverage and Special Events

Charlotte has quickly become a fun, foodie destination for many entrepreneurs. If you’re trying to join the food and beverage industry, or if you’re hoping to host a special event, the City of Charlotte can connect you to the licensing and permitting resources you need. A few of these resources are listed below!

Get a permit for your food truck: Food trucks are here to stay! If you’re hoping to join Charlotte’s thriving food truck community, make sure you have the right permits! Get information on this and more from the City of Charlotte.

Get your ABC permit: Serving alcohol? You’re going to need a permit for that! Businesses manufacturing, distributing, serving and/or selling alcoholic beverages are required to get an ABC permit. Don’t worry—the City of Charlotte can help!

Host a special event, parade, or festival: Charlotte is a great place to hold an event! Before you can officially host your event, make sure you have the right permits. Learn more about what you need and how to submit an application from the City of Charlotte.

Taxis, Uber, and Lyft

If you’re operating a vehicle for hire in Charlotte, there are specific things you need to know about licensing, inspection and operations. That includes you, Uber and Lyft drivers! Don’t fret, though. The City of Charlotte connects you to the resources you need to get your business up and running!

Vending in the Center City/Uptown

Hoping to sell items in Uptown Charlotte? Start by checking out the City of Charlotte’s Code of Ordinances about vending in the Congested Business District and the Tryon Street Mall. The Charlotte Center City Partners manage vendors Uptown. Contact them for more information

If you want to sell items at a special event or festival Uptown, you will need to contact the event organizer for information on how to get a permit. This type of vending is not handled by the City of Charlotte or Charlotte Center City Partners.


Charlotte’s growing, and with the City of Charlotte, our business community is growing with it. Find the tools and information you need to grow your business successfully with the City of Charlotte!

Training Programs

The City of Charlotte is committed to increasing economic mobility. Project P.I.E.C.E. was established to assist participants with career-related training and guide them into career paths, including full-time employment, pre-apprenticeships, and apprenticeships. Whether you’re a business or an applicant, you can learn more about Project P.I.E.C.E. here!

Calling all young, future entrepreneurs! The City of Charlotte offers the Mayor’s Youth Employment Program (MYEP) geared to help Charlotte’s youth prepare for future employment. These paid and unpaid internships generally last about eight (8) weeks and focus on leveraging relationships with businesses and the community. Learn more about the MYEP, or begin the application process!

Business Associations

As your business continues to grow, you might look for opportunities to connect with Charlotte’s various international communities and organizations. The City of Charlotte’s Office of International Business Relations offers resources to help entrepreneurs and individuals become better global citizens. Learn more about how you can find the world in Charlotte!



Zoning, building standards and land use issues can be very complex. For any questions you might have, the City of Charlotte offers a robust portal of answers to meet all of your zoning and rezoningneeds.

Here are a few additional resources to help you get in the zone and select a site, with the City of Charlotte:

  • Home-Based Business Brochure: If you’re operating a business from home, this brochure covers zoning, permits and more.
  • Charlotte Zoning Ordinance: On this page, you can access the City of Charlotte’s Zoning Ordinance in easy-to-download guides.
  • Virtual Charlotte: Using this tool, you can find property zoning, real estate tax values, voting districts, eligibility for financial incentive programs and much more.
  • Charlotte Revitalization Areas: For entrepreneurs in specified redevelopment areas, the City of Charlotte offers matching grants to assist with paying the costs of improving their properties. Learn more about these opportunities and other redevelopment initiatives, and find out if you’re eligible!
  • Open Counter: When it comes to permitting a business, OpenCounter is the best thing since sliced bread! This online tool will help you determine the permits you need, while also calculating permit requirements, fees, and timelines for your project. Get started with OpenCounter!



Need a grant? The City of Charlotte can help with that! Their specialized grant programs are designed to help business owners with the costs of undertakings such as storefront renovations and environmental cleanup. For instance, the Business Investment Program (BIP) provides grants to companies based on the amount of property tax generated by private business investments. Additionally, Neighborhood Matching Grants are available to help local citizens improve their neighborhoods, making them better places to live, work, play and shop.

Local Lending Programs

Seeking a small business loan? The City of Charlotte offers Small Business Loan programs, administering financial assistance and helping starting businesses get off the ground and existing businesses improve their performance. Contact the City of Charlotte to learn more!

Here are a few of the loan programs offered by the City:

  • Business Investment Grant (BIG): BIG identifies Investment Zones within the communities to help small businesses with creation, retention and expansion.
  • Small Business Mobilization Loan: The Small Business Mobilization Loan is designed to assisted owners of certified Small Business Enterprises (SBEs) acquire short-term, low-rate financing.
  • Charlotte Community Capital Fund: The Charlotte Community Capital is an innovative public/private fund established to help small businesses like you gain access to capital!

Charlotte Funding Programs

Lending a helping hand? If you’re a lender in Charlotte, the City offers a variety of tools and programs to make the process easier than ever:

  • Charlotte Facade and Security Grant Program: These two programs provide matching funds for storefront architectural renovations and security improvements to eligible commercial buildings in targeted areas. For lenders, these grant funds could be considered as a ‘source of repayment’ or ‘source of funds’ for the commercial property loan requests they’re considering. Contact the City of Charlotte to learn more about how these two loan programs can help lenders!
  • Charlotte Brownfield Programs: Sites suspected of environmental contamination are called brownfield sites. Lenders considering loan requests for these sites should consider the City of Charlotte’s Brownfield Program as a source of repayment that can improve the underwriting ratios of the project. Contact the City of Charlotte for more information!
  • Charlotte Community Capital Fund: The City of Charlotte’s Community Capital Fund provides lenders with a referral source for their business clients, while also helping business clients access the capital they need to start and grow a business. Contact the City of Charlotte to learn more about how the Community Capital Fund can help lenders retain client relationships!



The City of Charlotte offers a variety of opportunities for entrepreneurs like you to work with the City. Find local contracting opportunities with the City of Charlotte here!

Charlotte Business INClusion

The Charlotte Business INClusion (CBI) Program is a goal-based, good faith efforts program focused on financial spend, customer service, internal operational efficiency, organizational capacity and community economic impact. It seeks to enhance competition and participation of MWSBEs in City contracting. Begin your MWSBE certification now, or browse the current contracting opportunities available in Charlotte!

Early Bird

EarlyBird is a City of Charlotte application, presenting a comprehensive list of active and in-development opportunities to help business owners navigate and participate in contract opportunities across al City of Charlotte departments. Browse opportunities available in Charlotte!

Vendor Registration

If you want to do business with the City of Charlotte, you need to be registered as a Vendor. From there, the City of Charlotte will share your information, services and products with departments around the city. Ready to do business with the City? Register to be a Vendor now!

Charlotte Business INClusion

The City of Charlotte’s CBI Program encourages MWSBE’s participation in City contracting, promotes Charlotte Regional Area small business participation and opens the door to greater prospects and competition among certified MWSBE firms. Register as a vendor here!


Economic Development

Charlotte a great place to live and work, and the City of Charlotte is committed to making it even better. Their Economic Development Department offers a variety of programs and services, making the City available to help entrepreneurs find the tools and resources they need so start and grow a successful business!



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City of Charlotte

600 E. 4th Street
Charlotte, NC 28202

(704) 336-7600



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