As a grant program to boost small businesses and entrepreneurs enters its second year, a local media company has joined the effort to increase the program's financial benefit.
The Somerset-Pulaski Economic Development Authority (SPEDA) will partner with Forcht Broadcasting in 2021 for its mini-grant series, a program that awards funding to help those who want to start new businesses or innovate within existing operations.
SPEDA President and CEO Chris Girdler said representatives from Forcht Broadcasting were so inspired by the mini-grant series after its first year that they approached him about how they could help. SPEDA awards four $2,500 grants annually to two start-up companies that are looking to begin operations and/or have been in business for less than one year, and two growth-oriented businesses that have been in business for more than one year. The program launched this year.
Through the partnership, Forcht will match each of the four $2,500 grants with $2,500 in advertising and marketing services, increasing the program's total financial benefit from $10,000 to $20,000.
"I am so grateful to Forcht Broadcasting for seeing the value in helping the community's entrepreneurs and business owners pursue their dreams," Girdler said. "Forcht is an outstanding regional media company that invests time and time again in the communities it serves. We are fortunate in Somerset and Pulaski County to be able to benefit from their servant leadership."
Forcht Broadcasting is a community-focused, small market radio group based in Kentucky, Indiana and Illinois. The company owns WYKY 106.1 FM and WTLO 1480 AM | 97.7 FM in Somerset.
The application is now available for the next round of mini-grants, which will be awarded in April 2021. The deadline to apply is Feb. 26, 2021.
Businesses may apply for a variety of projects, including but not limited to: strategic planning and management; purchase or physical improvements to facilities or equipment; training; or leadership, planning and management capacity initiatives.
In its inaugural year, mini-grant recipients included The Market on Main, 19 Kilo Turkey Calls, Get Ur Smoke On BBQ and Buck Creek Outfitters.
Girdler said ultimately SPEDA seeks to fund proposals that promote entrepreneurship, business expansion and strengthen economic growth and development in Somerset and Pulaski County.
"Through savings realized with our good management and proper oversight, we hope to return that savings back into the hands of our business community through the mini-grant program," Girdler said. "There is no business too small or too large to apply for these grants. Our goal is to pay forward our spirit of innovation to the business community, so they too can innovate and make our economy even stronger."
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 to mobilize local resources and strengthen community institutions and networks.
Download complete guidelines for the mini-grant program and the proposal form at somersetleads.com, or e-mail Girdler at firstname.lastname@example.org or SPEDA Chief Accounting Officer Jessica Carlton at email@example.com to request copies.