Microenterprise Grant Program Loan Awarded

Cosmetics firm nails new loan

By MICHAEL ANICH, Originally printed in the Leader Herald, reprinted with permission

CRG President and CEO Ronald Peters today indicated the company receiving only the second loan through the CRG program is SW Skin Care & Cosmetics, Inc. of 86 Briggs St. He said the closing on the grant was Friday.

The CRG on Friday morning had declined to name the company at its board of directors meeting at Crossroads Business Park.

SW Skin Care & Cosmetics offers services such as facials, waxing, massage, makeup and nails. It was formed by Sherry Wieszchowski to provide the “best possible skin care and make-up services in the region,” its website says. The small company has attracted clients from all over New York, as well as from Massachusetts, Vermont, Virginia, Florida and Canada, the site says.

CRG President and CEO Ronald Peters said the Microenterprise Grant Program, funded by the state, is administered by the CRG. He said it has been successful so far, although awards have been slow in closing.

“That program’s going good,” he stated. “It takes time.”

Offered is federal Community Development Block Grant funding filtered through the state Office of Community Renewal to be administered to local businesses in the county.

The CRG previously awarded a $25,000 check to L&L Embroidery of Johnstown through the Microenterprise Grant Program. The program is helpful for small start-up businesses and young companies, providing seed money to grow. A microenterprise is defined as a commercial enterprise that has five or fewer full-time employees, one or more of which owns the enterprise at the time of application.

“The state wants to move the process up,” Peters said. “We’re told our program is real successful.”

Peters also reported the county had 21 Consolidated Funding Applications seeking funding go into the state this year. He said that hopefully some of the applications will be successful and assist further development of the Tryon Technology Park in Perth.

“I’m excited about it,” Peters said of the CFA process. “I think we’re going to hit a home run.”

Michael Anich covers Johnstown and Fulton County news. He can be reached at manich@leaderherald.com.

Get it while it’s hot: $25,000 Microenterprise grant program ends June 15

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Microenterprise Grant Program Application Form

The CDBG Microenterprise Grant Program is a grant program to assist small businesses.  This grant was awarded to Fulton County and is being administered by the Fulton County Center for Regional Growth.  Small businesses can receive grants of up to $25,000 to assist with startup or expansion costs which create jobs. Below are general guidelines for a potential business utilizing CDBG Microenterprise Grant funding.

CDBG Microenterprise Grant Program Summary and Business Assistance Guidelines

1. Eligibility

a. Eligible Businesses- Grants will be available only to microenterprises.  A microenterprise is defined as a commercial enterprise that has (5) five or fewer FTE employees, one (1) or more of which owns the enterprise at the time of application. Projects must result in the creation afar least one PTE job. In the case where no jobs are to be created, the employer and/owner or current employee base must be low or moderate-income person as established by CDBG at the time closing.

b. Eligible Activities – Eligible activities include providing assistance to businesses that are involved in manufacturing, warehousing and distribution, agriculture, high technology, research and development and traditional and innovative small business endeavors. Retail projects will be considered if the business is located in a town, village or city’s main street.

c. Business Structure -  The Microenterprise may be a sole proprietorship, partnership, limited liability company or corporation.

d. Location – The business must be located within Fulton County.

e. Feasibility -  Microenterprise businesses must present a reasonable likelihood for long term viability based upon issues such as feasibility, marketability, management, competition, and capitalization.

f. Use of Funds - Grants can be used for capital assets (such as real estate, buildings, machinery and equipment) and working capital.

g. Applicant Qualifications – Applicants for financing under this program shall be a United States corporation, LLC, partnership, or sole proprietorship, be able to repay if found in default of program objectives, and possess good character and reputation and be of legal age.

h. Passive Investing Prohibited – Grant funds will not be utilized for activities that consist primarily of investing, speculation in real estate, or to primarily assist in the sale or purchase of an existing business.

i. Limits on Construction Funding -  Construction, rehabilitation and renovation activities are not eligible using CDBG Microenterprise funding, as such activities would trigger Federal Labor Standards.  The program will look to non-Federal funds to cover the cost of construction or renovation in those instances where such activities need to take place.

2. Funding

a. Grant Calculation – The minimum grant for each business will be $5,000 and the maximum will be $25,000. The grant will be calculated as follows.  Each business will receive a $5,000 grant plus $10,000 for each full time equivalent job created. In addition, for any business at least 51% of the jobs created shall be low mod jobs.

b. Use of Grant Funds – Grant Funds will be provided Financing of capital assets (such as real estate, buildings, machinery and equipment) and working capital.

c. Owner Contribution – Grant recipient will provide a minimum of 10% equity in the project.

d. Timing of Grant Funds – Grant funds will be release on a pre-agreed upon schedule, where CDBG funds will be disbursed on a pro rata basis with the other financing

e. Compliance During the Regulatory Term – A formal agreement between the business and the County will be executed.  Where collateral is available, this agreement will be secured by a means of a mortgage on real estate or a lien in other hard assets.  This agreement will constitute the means by which the County enforces compliance with program requirements.  The program will include regular periodic monitoring of each business to ensure that it is making good faith efforts to achieve employment goals and other program objectives.

3. Entrepreneurial Training Requirement

Participation in the Fulton County Center for Regional Growth (CRG) business training program will be required of all program participants and completion CRG’s entrepreneurial training Small Business Training Program.  The cost of $100 per attendee will be an eligible expense of micro enterprise grant funds.  A training program syllabus includes a general overview of business; accounting, taxes, and finance; marketing and e-commerce; and development of a business plan.

4.  Grant Recapture

In the event the grant recipient goes out of business or goes into defaults on the grant agreement from the date of the award up until the time of grant close-out, the grant will be subject to recapture. The amount to be returned will be based upon years of successful, legitimate operation according to the following schedule:

Default within One Year – 100% Recapture

Default within Two Years – 80% Recapture

Default within Three Years – 60% Recapture

Default within Four Years – 40% Recapture

Default within Five Years – 20% Recapture

Default After Five Years – No Recapture