A new small business program in Louisiana could potentially serve as a model for communities around the country looking to support and fund small businesses.
Asset Builders of Southwest Louisiana, which is funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, actually started as a way to help low and moderate income residents save enough to buy homes in the area. But Asset Builders is now adding a Business Capitalization Component to help existing businesses capitalize on their investments.
In order to qualify for the program, business owners must live in Allen, Beauregard, Calcasieu, Cameron or Jeff Davis parishes in Louisiana. They must be active in business for at least a year. They must have a business banking account, EIN, Schedule C (if applicable), and occupational license (if required by their local government). And they must also attend a program orientation to learn about other criteria and eligible uses of the grant funds.
Once accepted, business owners can open IDAs, which are savings accounts that match their deposits up to a predetermined maximum amount. That amount can vary for each business based on a number of factors. Essentially, it’s a way for businesses to make even more from the money they put into their savings.
More Local Small Business Programs on the Way?
For the community, supporting small businesses in this way can provide a big boost to the local economy. Small businesses are likely to hire local workers and keep their money in the community. So if this program is a success, it could potentially start a trend toward more local small business programs. And if other communities around the country use it as a model, it could provide a major boost to small businesses and the economy as a whole.
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