MASSENA — The Business Development Corporation for a Greater Massena has received 16 valid applications from businesses for a micro-enterprise grant of up to $30,000.
But, BDC Executive Director James Murphy said, they may have to make some tough choices if they’re not able to obtain the entire grant they were seeking.
Existing and start-up businesses with five or fewer employers, including the owner, were invited to apply for up to $30,000 in grant funding to help their business and create job opportunities for low-to-moderate income households.
“We’ve had I think a good mix of requests that include some mall businesses, some town-wide businesses, some downtown businesses. Five of the requests are new businesses or start-up business, so that’s good. It was one of the things we’re looking for,” Mr. Murphy said.
The program, which is being administered by the BDC, has $200,000 available for the acquisition of machinery and equipment, furniture and fixtures, working capital, inventory and other valid businesses purposes Construction, renovations and the acquisition of real property are not eligible.
“The smallest request was $3,500 and, of course, the largest request was $30,000. If everybody got what they wanted, it would be in the neighborhood of $400,000 of requests,” Mr. Murphy said.
He said he has reached out to the applicants and asked for more information and to let them know they may have to whittle their list.
“I also said, ‘Set your own priorities and let me know exactly what are the most important aspects of your request because you may not get all the funding.’ But my goal, and this is up to the Grant Review Committee, would be to spread the wealth to as many people as possible, even if everybody wasn’t getting the full $30,000 maximum,” he said. “My goal is to work with each of the businesses to get them something that will make an impact.”
Now that applications are in, a Grant Review Committee that has been designated by town of Massena officials will meet to review the first round of applications. Any applications submitted after that review will be considered later if funding remains. The committee will review applications on a monthly basis until funding is expended.
Businesses that are selected to receive funding must complete an eight-hour entrepreneurship training course and meet certain job creation requirements. They must also contribute 10 percent equity to the project.
Mr. Murphy had recommended that businesses not spend any money for their project until they have been officially approved for the grant and have discussed their project with the BDC to ensure that expenses are eligible for reimbursement.
He had also recommended that applicants apply only for an amount that fits the project, need and each individual budget rather than the maximum grant award.