Application deadline is March 21
LOWVILLE, N.Y. — Lewis County entrepreneurs who want to start or grow their businesses in the county have until March 21 to apply for funding in a new business competition.
Naturally Lewis, the county’s economic-development organization, has $200,000 available for Launch Lewis County, a business competition and grant program. It’ll provide 11 recipients with training, funding, and the “tools needed to successfully open or grow their businesses,” per a news release.
The New York State Office of Homes and Community Renewal’s Community Development Block Grant program is providing the funding for the Launch Lewis County program, the organization noted.
Naturally Lewis is seeking projects in categories that include food & beverage (including value-added processing); creative tourism and recreational-based experiences, including agri-tourism; and location within a downtown that “enhances tourist draw and quality of life for local residents.”
Launch Lewis County will award 11 businesses grant awards totaling nearly $200,000. They’ll include one $30,000 award; five $20,000 awards; and five $10,000 awards.
The awards also include ongoing technical assistance through Naturally Lewis’s DBA Lewis County program; a professional photoshoot; a logo and branding package; grand opening or expansion promotion; and access to a low-interest loan fund, for which the recipient must qualify.
A program advisory committee will review and select finalists to move on to the next round of the competition. Finalists are required to complete an entrepreneurial trailing course in partnership with the Watertown Small Business Development Center before submitting a final application and business plan for consideration for the grant awards.
To learn more about Launch Lewis County visit the Naturally Lewis website: naturallylewis.com/initiatives/launch-lewis-county.
Those interested can also contact Brittany Davis, executive director of Lewis County Economic Development at (315) 376-3014 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Eligible applicants include startup businesses or existing businesses with plans to expand or diversify product or service.
In addition, applicants must be a for-profit microenterprise (five or fewer employees) and must enhance experiences for tourists and locals, alike.
Applicants can only use funding for equipment, machinery, furniture, fixtures and inventory. They must also be considered low to moderate income OR create a job to be made available to low to moderate income individuals to qualify for grant.
In addition, if creating a new job is eligibility for grant, awardee must create the job first in order to receive grant, Naturally Lewis said.
Naturally Lewis also noted that grant funds can only cover up to 90 percent of total project cost; owner must contribute 10 percent of project cost with own funds.