The Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development announced on July 31 that applications are being accepted for Building Entrepreneurial Economies (BEE) planning grants.
These grants will provide resources to micro-enterprise development organizations (MDOs) to build capacity and/or expand the services of an existing service provider.
All grants are available only to nonprofit and local and regional government entities that are interested in providing micro-entrepreneurial assistance and micro-financing to non-traditional entrepreneurs.
MDOs working at the regional or local level may apply for grants of up to $7,500. Awards will be made on a rolling basis and will be available through Jan. 31, 2014, or until the funds are exhausted. The deadline for completing the projects under the planning grant is May 1, 2014.
It is not necessary for grantees to have previously received VEI/BEE funding, however, grantees must contact BEE staff to discuss their ideas before submitting an application. Planning grants are designed to add statewide coverage and deeper market penetration by identifying strengths, weaknesses, market sectors and competitive structures of micro-enterprise programs.
Successful applications will identify an opportunity for expanded service delivery and provide distinct outcomes that the planning grant will enable them to achieve. All successful applications must have a direct relationship with increased micro-lending, not just micro-entrepreneurship. Scoring emphasis also will be placed on showing how the proposed project will support a larger, regional entrepreneurial strategy, especially for economically-distressed or rural regions. Successful applicants will demonstrate how the grant will leverage additional resources.
• Market research in expansion areas
• Exploratory outreach in expansion areas
• Partnership development
• Development of a micro-loan fund to align with regional or local economic strategies
• Expanding reach to unexpected entrepreneurs
• Development of new marketing materials to reach specific populations, other assistance in reaching new populations or funding for assistance with translation
For more information about BEE, click here.