Couleecap Inc., an anti-poverty private non-profit agency with offices in La Crosse, Westby, Sparta, and Prairie du Chien, hopes small grants of up to $500 and offers of technical assistance will entice low-income entrepreneurs to start their own small business.
Andrew Londre, Business and Income Developer for Couleecap said, “We know that starting a small business can be challenging for a variety of reasons, especially when you are struggling with your own personal expenses, but Couleecap is here to help with our Job and Business Development Program.”
Couleecap is offering start-up grants through their Job and Business Development (JBD) Program. “There are a number of initial expenses associated with starting a small business; getting legally incorporated, protected with insurance, or just getting online through a new website – and when you are trying to get a new venture off the ground, those small costs can create big hurdles. That is what our JBD program is for, to help entrepreneurs clear those initial hurdles.” said Londre.
On the other hand, Londre points out that through their JBD program, Couleecap has shown that successful start ups can put low-income people on the path to self-sufficiency. In fact, since JBD’s inception in 1997, Couleecap has invested both time and money in over 100 area businesses - from restaurants to a printing facility - which has led to the creation of more than 145 jobs.
Through JBD, Couleecap also offers technical assistance to low income entrepreneurs such as:
· Reviewing business and financial plans
· Market research to analyze demand, competition, and the profile of target customers
· Business registration / incorporation
· Marketing plans to establish brand identity and marketing venues
Entrepreneurs must live in La Crosse, Monroe, Vernon or Crawford counties and have a combined household income at or below 185% of the federal poverty line. Applications can be found at www.couleecap.org