Microenterprise Grants Targeting “Main Street” and Agri-Businesses - County Receives 2011 CDBG Funds to Establish Microenterprise Assistance Program   

(Monticello, NY - 4:12 PM) – Legislature Chairman Jonathan Rouis (D-District 4) and County Legislators Elwin Wood (D-District 3) and Jodi Goodman (R-District 6), Chair and Co-Chair of the Community and Economic Development Committee respectively, announced today the creation of a countywide “Microenterprise Assistance Program” (MAP), made possible with a $185,000 grant from New York State’s Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Economic Development Program.

“The program will provide grants between $5,000 and $35,000 for business start-ups or existing enterprises with five or fewer employees,” noted Rouis.  The MAP will target two types of small businesses of importance to the County: “Main Street” goods and services, located within downtown, village or hamlet business districts, and agriculture-related businesses. “This strategy responds to the diverse geography of the County and builds on our innate strengths – our traditional Main Street communities and our farms and agri-businesses that support them,” explains Wood.

This dual focus also leverages the existing funding available through the County’s Main Street Revolving Loan Fund and Agri-Business Revolving Loan Funds.  Goodman states, “The goal with the Microenterprise Program is to help bridge the gap and make it more feasible for small businesses to take advantage of the very affordable loan terms that are available. It’s also intended to guarantee success by providing training and help with business plans as a condition for receiving the grants.”

The Microenterprise Assistance Program is a collaboration of the County’s Division of Planning and Center for Workforce Development, Sullivan Renaissance, the Sullivan County Chamber of Commerce and Liberty Community Development Corporation. Funding comes from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) through CDBG funds administered by New York State Homes and Community Renewal. Conditions of the grant include requiring participating businesses to contribute at least 10% of the cost of the project and to create one new job offered to or made available to persons from low- or moderate-income (LMI) households. Alternatively, if the owner is LMI, the business may quality. New jobs must start within 24-months, and businesses receiving grants must participate in an Entrepreneurial Assistance Program as a requirement for receiving funds.
The Microenterprise Grant comes on the heels of two recent grant awards secured by the Division of Planning in support of the County’s economic development efforts, both from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development Program. In August, Sullivan County received a 2011 Rural Business Enterprise Grant (RBEG) for $186,500, to fund the purchase of equipment for a dairy processing facility, or “creamery,” which will provide local farmers with new opportunities for processing, marketing and distributing milk products commercially. The County will own the equipment and lease it to a private operator, who will receive the option to purchase the equipment at the end of the lease term. The County will dedicate lease payments to a revolving loan fund targeting dairy producers.

In September, the County received notice of a second USDA Grant, this one a Rural Business Opportunity Grant (RBOG) for $50,000 to support consulting work on a countywide economic development plan. The focus of consulting services will be feasibility analysis and action plans on various economic development strategies that have been identified through the community’s visioning over the past two years. In addition, the plan will explore other opportunities based on regional and national economic trends, local resources and community needs. The economic development plan is projected to be completed by September 30, 2012.

For additional information, contact the Sullivan County Division of Planning and Environmental Management, Tel. (845) 807-0541, or Email: planning@co.sullivan.ny.us.

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