Starting your own local business is an exciting and potentially profitable journey. Once the idea seed is planted in your head, it’s difficult to focus on anything else. What’s my first step? Who can I talk to? Am I missing anything? Perhaps you find yourself wishing you could sign up for a business class or two, but they’re too expensive and too time consuming.
Coconino County Community Services provides excellent resources for small business startups. The Basic Business Empowerment class is a great option for entrepreneurs who need some guidance and instruction. Class participants will learn how to create a business feasibility plan that they can then present to lenders, clearly define their market and services, project their future cash-flow and profits, and learn about taxes, payroll, and insurance. Class size is capped at 12 people; the small class size allows for a more personalized learning experience. Classes are facilitated by the director of Coconino Small Business Development Center, and guest speakers are invited to share their knowledge, as well. Summer session will occur on Tuesday evenings from 6-9pm, May 3 – July 19, 2016 at Coconino County Health and Community Services Building (2625 N. King St., Flagstaff, AZ). Class fee is $125, and the class is only available to Coconino County residents who are planning on opening their business in Coconino County.
For the entrepreneurs in Coconino County who are trying to save money for their start-up, Coconino County Community Services offers an Individual Development Account (IDA) savings program. Funds that are saved are fund-matched at a 2:1 ratio. Participants have to opportunity to save up to $2,000 and receive up to $4,000 for a total of $6,000 available for equipment, tools, inventory, advertising, and other business expenses.
To qualify for this program, eligibility requirements are:
- Proof of residency
- Photo identification and a social security card (or ITIN, as applicable)
- Copy of three most current pay stubs
- Current credit report
- Earned income (SSDI, SSI, and unemployment are not considered income)
- Household net-worth less than $10,000 (home and primary vehicle excluded)
- Annual household adjusted gross income may not exceed 200% of the current federal poverty level
Once accepted, participants must make a minimum $25 deposit into the IDA savings account for a minimum of 6 months, complete financial literacy training, and get their target asset list approved, which would be listed in the business plan.
Research by Dr. Michael Sherraden, Distinguished Professor of Social Development at Washington University, St. Louis, MO, and the Corporation for Enterprise Development (CFED), a national nonprofit based in Washington, DC, has shown that lower-income individuals and families are more likely to escape poverty if they are able to acquire key long-term assets. Ownership of a small business is an asset which empowers financial self-sufficiency and contributes to stronger, more stable communities. Coconino County Community Services Basic Business Empowerment class and IDA savings program help empower locals in Coconino County, helping people lift themselves into better situations.
For more information, an application, or questions, please contact Scott Neuman at (928) 679-7463.
This is a guest blog written by Anna Yaghmourian.