By Cornelia de Bruin
Triplicate staff writer
It's in free-form stage right now, but North Coast Small Business
Development Corporation is laying big plans for a possible expansion
of its nearly year-long efforts.
The center opened February 2006. Since then, it's helped 170 Crescent
City entrepreneurs launch their own businesses.
Because the nonprofit's initial State Community Development Block
Grant is about to expire, Crescent City is seeking a replacement
It's a grant that includes an Economic Development Allocation, which
itself includes the funding for SBDC. Called a Community Economic
Enterprise Fund Component, the 2004 grant applies to small business
development during 2005-2007. It supports the business development
andquot;We couldn't have the office open without the funds,andquot; said Michael
Kraft, CEO of North Coast Small Business Development Corporation.
Funding for the entity also comes from the Small Business
Administration. The national resource, however, requires its
recipients to supply a cash match to its monies, Kraft said.
The match comes from Community Development Block Grant funds.
SBA money picks up the cost of the business development center's
special workshops and conferences, while its CDBG money pays for the
projects that help low- and middle-income clients who either have or
want to start a business.
The development corporation offers counseling, referral and business
skills training to a group it calls andquot;targeted-incomeandquot; recipients, so
they can create jobs for people within the same economic bracket.
Its clients have household incomes that are 80 percent or less than
the median family income for this county.
The latest available figures show Del Norte County's median income at
$29,901. Those who make far less four-fifths less are living on
incomes that are $5,980.20 or less.
Although the CDBG grants can be as high as $500,000, Crescent City is
applying for about $208,000.
andquot;We are applying for a larger amount, and if we succeed we would be
able to do some special things,andquot; Kraft said.
City Planner Will Caplinger, is preparing the grant submittal now.
This is where free-forming enters the picture.
Until Kraft knows that the center's grant proposal has nailed
funding, a final decision about how the money will be used won't be
andquot;Helping artists and retail businesses are two of the possibilities,
but we will wait to see what we get,andquot; he said.
The center's grant submittal is in the works now, he said.
andquot;The next round, some time this spring, is where our firmed-out
application will come,andquot; he said.
Kraft is confident, even though the grant process is competitive.
andquot;It's a very good source of funds and it is very under-spent in
California,andquot; he said. andquot;I think Crescent City's odds are quite good
because we've been successful and used our money well.andquot;
The Crescent City Council will take public comment on the grant
submittal this evening.