Program has been successful in helping Somerset-Pulaski County start-ups and small businesses innovate
A butterfly house at a local lavender farm. Low-latency software to help a voice instructor offer virtual music lessons. Sending a marine shop seamstress to training to become a certified canvas technician.
These are just three of the 12 innovative projects that have been developed with funding from the Somerset-Pulaski Economic Development Authority (SPEDA) mini-grant program — and another four will soon be underway.
SPEDA has released the application for its fourth round of mini-grants, a program that awards a total of $10,000 per year to support entrepreneurial endeavors. The deadline to apply is Feb. 24, 2023, with winners to be selected in April or May.
Made possible with savings realized through proper financial management and oversight, SPEDA will award four $2,500 grants to businesses with the best applications for start-up or expansion projects. Those projects can include but are not limited to: strategic planning and management; purchase or physical improvements to facilities or equipment; training; or leadership, planning and management capacity.
SPEDA President and CEO Chris Girdler said the program has well exceeded his expectations for the unique, innovative projects it has helped launch in the local economy.
“With our mini-grant program, local start-ups and small businesses are able to get creative and think outside the box, creating a plan for an extraordinary project that will elevate them above the competition and bring something special to our community,” Girdler said. “These projects might otherwise be a pipe dream without SPEDA’s mini-grant funding. We’re incredibly proud of the way we’ve reinvested our savings into this program so these small businesses can dream big and make a difference in the local economy.”
Girdler said proposals that build capacity through the promotion, support and advancement of a business and overall economic development will take priority. Businesses should present their overall plan in their applications, ways in which the grant investment will be utilized, the need for the investment along with how they are helping to build community, mobilize local resources, and strengthen community institutions and networks.
Complete guidelines for the mini-grant program and the proposal form can be downloaded online at somersetkyleads.com/opportunities/, or e-mailed by contacting Girdler at email@example.com or SPEDA Chief Accounting Officer Jessica Carlton at firstname.lastname@example.org.