This blog post follows up on Steps to Community Business Launch from January 23, 2023.
A key component of the Community Business Launch (CBL) application is the local match. As previously noted, this match can and should be more than just cash. Here are a few of the most impactful types of in-kind match:
Free or Reduced Rent:
- Putting a successful CBL application together is an opportunity to interact with property owners. Making those owners aware of the coming programming and the new businesses that will be created is an occasion to make them a key part of the effort. Knowing that a CBL program will generate a pipeline of tenants and that their participation will not only make a stronger application but will increase the likelihood that the new businesses will stay in business can be a powerful incentive. It may also generate investment in creating or improving storefronts, as in many cases building owners are more willing to invest in their properties when they have confidence that the local government is also investing in bringing quality businesses and tenants to the area.
Legal and Accounting Services:
- When new and expanding businesses know that they have trusted and vetted sources for the specialized assistance that they will need to open and run their business, they can focus on what they do best as entrepreneurs. For new businesses, in particular, this can be an invaluable resource as they navigate their first 12 – 24 months.
- An online presence and the opportunity to diversify revenue through e-commerce are essential for retail, restaurant and hospitality sectors, which make up the bulk of CBL businesses. Making the development of a fully functioning website a component of the prize package is another powerful tool in the arsenal.
Membership to the Chamber of Commerce:
- The first year provided free can offer a strong network for the new businesses but also generate new long-term membership for the organization.
- Print, television, radio and online news outlets can all be valuable partners in not only spreading the word about the training and competition but also in promoting the new businesses once they open.
A CBL program is a great investment for communities, for small businesses and for entrepreneurs. The strength of in-kind services, mentorship and the opportunity for continuing connection, training, services and networking for the newly created and expanded businesses increases the likelihood that they will not only keep their doors open but that they will become job creators and economic development generators in their own right. Stay tuned for the FY 2024 grants and reach out to the Community Vitality Office today to schedule a time to discuss your community’s application.
Image 1 – courtesy of Hopewell Downtown Partnership
Image 2 – courtesy of Busy Bean Coffee Shop, South Boston
Image 3 – courtesy of Artisan Alley, Hopewell
Image 4 – courtesy of Grizzlies Hatchet House, Danville