CODI Announces New Microenterprise Assistance Program

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Article Contributed by
Chautauqua Opportunities for Development, Inc.

Chautauqua Opportunities for Development, Inc. (CODI) and the Chautauqua County Department of Planning & Development are excited to announce the launch of the Microenterprise Assistance Program (MAP). This program provides matching grants from $10,000 to $25,000 to eligible microenterprise businesses located within Chautauqua County, outside the Cities of Jamestown and Dunkirk. The MAP was implemented to assist in the formation and expansion of small businesses and the creation of employment opportunities for low-to-moderate income individuals within the target area. Funds can be used for machinery, equipment, furnishings, fixtures, inventory, and for operating costs and other working capital expenses. Ineligible uses include funds used for construction, renovations, leasehold improvements, demolition, nonprofit organizations, or business expenses incurred prior to application approval.

A 10% equity contribution by the business and completion of an entrepreneurship course offered by CODI is required. Dates and times for the course are to be decided. The $90 fee for the course is a reimbursable expense.

“Small businesses are the foundation of Chautauqua County and the communities we live in,” said Mike Michalski, Economic Development Coordinator for CODI. “We look forward to assisting new and existing businesses as they become more self-sufficient and add more employment opportunities to the local economy.”

All applicants are required to submit a business plan with their application. Assistance in developing a business plan can be sought through the Jamestown Community College Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at 716-338-1024.

This program is a result of a collaborative partnership between CODI, the Chautauqua County Department of Planning & Development, and the Chautauqua County Partnership for Economic Growth.

“I thank Chautauqua Opportunities for Development for their partnership on this program and their ongoing efforts to support small business,” said Mark Geise, the Deputy County Executive for Economic Development. “This is just one more tool to assist our small businesses and emerging startups and will augment the great work of CODI, the SBDC, and other partners.”

To qualify for the MAP grant, businesses must have five or fewer employees and be located within Chautauqua County, outside the Cities of Jamestown and Dunkirk. Businesses also need to be owned by a low-to-moderate income person or will have to, as the result of the grant, create at least one full-time equivalent job that is made available to low-to-moderate income persons. Participation by start-up businesses is encouraged.

Funding is limited and grants will be approved on a first come first serve basis. Please contact Michael Michalski at mmichalski@chautopp.org or Samantha Salzler at ssalzler@chautopp.org for an application.