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Monticello – County Manager Josh Potosek has announced that a new Microenterprise Assistance Program (MAP) has been launched to assist owners of small businesses in Sullivan County and people looking to start a business here. The program will provide entrepreneurial training to help small businesses survive and grow, along with low-interest loans, subsidies and other forms of support. The program will target the county’s village and hamlet centers, with a priority given to restaurants and food service businesses that typically find it hard to obtain traditional financing but which are essential components of a thriving downtown.
Fifty percent of all small businesses do not survive past their fifth year, however small businesses are the backbone of Sullivan County’s rural economy. The new program is aimed at improving this statistic by offering an eight session Entrepreneurial Training Program, covering such topics as small business basics; taxes, permitting and licensing; market research and analysis; preparing a business plan; financing; customer service, and finding and managing employees. Since the program is targeting applications from restaurants and food service entrepreneurs, an additional class will be conducted, specifically geared toward this sector, which will address common pitfalls and how to avoid them.
The training program will be limited to 20 people in order to create an environment where participants can learn from and support each other. Graduates of the training will be eligible to apply for low-interest loans of between $5,000 and $35,000, which have been being made available under the program to new business start-ups or existing enterprises with five or fewer employees. It is anticipated that approximately 10 loans will be made. Recipients must contribute a minimum of 10 percent of the total project cost in cash to demonstrate financial commitment. For larger projects, the program will assist participating businesses with seeking and packaging funding from other sources.
The new Microenterprise Assistance Program is made possible with a $200,000 grant from the United States Department of Agriculture Rural Business Enterprise Grant Program (RBEG). The grant is being administered by the Sullivan County Division of Planning and Environmental Management in collaboration with the Sullivan County Partnership for Economic Development, the Sullivan County Chamber of Commerce, the Sullivan County Center for Workforce Development, and the County of Sullivan Industrial Development Agency.
Sullivan County Planning, along with its partners will hold two public information sessions on the MAP program, Tuesday Nov. 25, 2014 and Dec. 9, 2014 at 6 p.m. in the Government Center in Monticello. The deadline for applications to the program is Friday, Jan. 2, 2015.
For more information or to request an application, contact the Sullivan County Division of Planning at (845) 807-0527 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.