Guest Blogger: Kathy Henderson, Director of Economic Development, Carbon County, PA
Starting a new business certainly has its challenges. You come up with an idea you do the research even find a great location. Now how are you going to bankroll it?
Remember that usually the first dollars into your business are yours. Perhaps you dipped into savings or cashed in your 401k or maxed out your credit cards. You may even have worked your regular job and moonlighted at your business to get it off the ground but now you’re ready for the next step; actually going out on your own.
At the startup stage, angel investors are hard to find and asking for help to find grants, or ‘free money,’ is a common request that my office handles all the time. While there may be some small grants, these are not common.
New businesses have a hard time getting funding from a bank because they don’t have the financial history of actually being in business. There is really nothing concrete to show a lender that your business is successful much less be able to pay back a loan.
With that in mind, and to help new entrepreneurs succeed, Carbon Chamber and Economic Development (CCEDC) is creating a program in partnership with the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) from Wilkes University. We affectionately call it “The Hatchery.”
Still in the planning stages, this program will help brand new entrepreneurs or businesses that have been operating for 3 years or less. Successful completion of The Hatchery program will help the business owner apply for much needed funding through CCEDC and in some instances we may be able to finance 100% of your working capital request.
Some of the things a potential business owner will be expected to do is attend either a First Step class or have an initial meeting with an SBDC consultant. There is no cost for these sessions.
You will also need to have a good credit score and some collateral. Throughout the process, you will learn how to complete a business plan and then have it reviewed and signed off by an SBDC consultant.
In addition you will learn how to complete financial projections and provide supporting documentation. This will also be reviewed and signed off by an SBDC Consultant.
From there, you will go to “The Hatchery” to apply for your loan. Successful completion of the SBDC program doesn’t guarantee that you will receive funding, however it will weigh heavily on the committees decision.
Potential business owners often find it hard to get the needed money to help them realize the dream of owning their own business. CCEDC and the Wilkes University SBDC are here to help you build your American Dream.
The CCEDC also has other loan programs to choose from including low interest Pennsylvania Industrial Development Authority (PIDA) programs which include lines of credit and our own Small Business Expansion Loan Fund for your smaller financial needs. Contact us at the Chamber today and let us help you realize your dream of entrepreneurship.