In an effort to assist some of its smaller businesses, the City of Belfast is attempting to obtain a $150,000 Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Micro-Enterprise Assistance Grant. If the City were to receive this grant, it would in turn be able to provide loans or grants to Belfast businesses, which could be used for working capital, interior renovations, and/or exterior improvements (such as signage, painting, siding, awnings, lighting, and display windows).
However, businesses that would want to receive this assistance from the City must either be a business that has 5 or less employees (or micro-businesses) and is owned by one of the employees, whose family income is determined to be ‘low-to-moderate’ (for example, for a family of 4 this would be $42,700 or less); or in the case of exterior improvements, they must be done to a building space that is designated as ‘blighted.’
In order to identify potential business grant/loan applicants and their needs, and to involve downtown and local businesses and business-related organizations in the development of the grant application and the project, the City of Belfast, in conjunction with the Belfast Area Chamber of Commerce, the Belfast Creative Coalition, and Our Town Belfast, will be holding a workshop at 6:00 PM on Thursday, February 21st at the offices of Our Town Belfast (The Mall on High Street, 171 High Street, Belfast, Suite #6). The workshop is free and open to any business in Belfast that may be interested.
According to Belfast Economic Development Director Thomas Kittredge, “we really want to hear from any business in Belfast that may be interested in accessing this program. They can play a very important role in demonstrating the need for this funding, which will make the City’s grant application far more competitive. This is one of the few programs out there that can provide direct financial assistance to a micro-business.”
Our Town Belfast Executive Director Breanna Bebb added "Our Town Belfast is very interested in the opportunities that this grant presents to Belfast businesses, including those located in our historic downtown, and how it may allow for additional investment in that area." Kimberly Callas, Belfast Creative Coalition's Executive Director, also expressed her supprt for this project: "this is an opportunity for some of the creative economy small businesses to come forward and see if they qualify. Belfast has many creative entrepreneurs that have growing businesses that make hand made products that are then sold globally online."
Questions regarding the workshop or the grant program can be directed to Thomas Kittredge, Economic Development Director, City of Belfast, at (207) 338-3370 ext. 16 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. More information regarding this program can also be found at www.cityofbelfast.org/micro-business.
The CDBG program’s primary objective is to develop viable communities by providing decent housing and a suitable living environment and by expanding economic opportunities, principally for persons of low and moderate income.