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Area small businesses benefit from CCDA grant

The dental office of Dr. Donald H. Busby was one of 13 Chambers County businesses to receive funding from the Chambers County Development Authority’s Small Business Development Grant Program. The grant was awarded to the LaFayette business to assist with a major facility rehabilitation project in 2013.

Since its inception in 2013, the Chambers County Development Authority’s Small Business Development Grant Program has spurred tremendous progress in the area. The program’s goal is to promote economic growth, business expansion, increased revenue and job creation by providing financial assistance to independently owned Chambers County businesses.

The grants, which are funded privately through corporate sponsorship and not through tax payer dollars, can be for as much as $5,000 and are available for a variety of projects, including those that improve facility aesthetics and commerce.

To date, the CCDA has awarded 13 Small Business Development Grants totaling more than $43,000. Among the recipients are businesses in Valley, LaFayette, Lanett and Five Points.

“It gives me great pride to know that we are able to offer assistance on a local level to our small business owners here in Chambers County,” Kimberly Carter of the CCDA said. “The grant program has exceeded expectations each year and it’s exciting to see the impact this program has on our community.”

In order for a business to qualify for a grant, they must employ 50 people or less and have been in business at least six months. The grant funds can be used for building construction, renovations or additions, for long term lease improvements, and for improvements to the interior or exterior of a facility, including landscaping, energy efficiency improvements, improvements to a parking lot, window treatments, signage or anything that improves outward appearance.

As part of the application process, business owners must show evidence that the grant would enhance current revenue generation or create jobs.

Any project that is submitted for the grant goes under review by the CCDA Grant Review Committee, which includes local business and government leaders. Following approval by the committee, the full CCDA Board of Directors must approve their recommendation for the grant to be awarded.

There are several factors considered during the application process in addition to revenue generation and job creation. One important element is that the applying business use Chambers County contractors and merchants for the purchase of materials. Additionally, community involvement and good corporate citizenship is taken into account by the committee.

“At our office, we are striving every day to make Chambers County a better place to do business and part of that is assisting our business owners, both large and small,” Carter added. “With this grant program in particular, we pride ourselves in working with the small business owners during their projects to insert these funds right back into our local economy. Here in Chambers County, we are team, and we are all working to make Chambers Strong!”

As the program has grown over the past several years, more and more businesses are applying to take advantage of this great opportunity, and the CCDA staff expects that to continue going forward.

The application period begins each year in October and continues until the available budgeted funds have been dispersed. Once the cap is reached, the application period will be closed until the beginning of the next fiscal year.

For more information about the CCDA’s Small Business Development Grant Program, contact Kimberly Carter at 334-6421460 or email kcarter@chambersida.com.