Review of additional applications for the microenterprise grant awarded to the Town of Ballston a few months ago has been suspended after five applications were deemed potentially qualified for the funds.
“At this time we have enough applications that would use the funds,” Town Councilwoman Kelly Stewart said.
Stewart said they starting receiving applications for the award in September, but after receiving only one application, started to reach out to the media to rile-up more applicants. The campaign worked and they’ve received five more since.
It’s a “very small grant,” Stewart said. “We don’t want people to go out and do the work just to find out applications have been suspended.”
In all, the grant could only realistically fund 5 or 6 applicants.
SEE THE Microenterprise grant application and qualifications here.
Stewart said for those applicants that are currently going through the process, three are start-ups, and one is an agricultural related business. She also said if any of the current applications undere review fell short of all the criteria necessary to receive the funds, the application process would be re-opened.
Just months ago, Ballston was awarded a $200,000 New York State Community Development grant enticing start-ups and agricultural and micro enterprises to hire low-to-moderate-income employees. The purpose of the grant was to expand agricultural tourism and reward start-ups for creating new jobs.
Out of the total, $160,000 is used for awards and can be as little as $5000, but be as large as $35,000 and fund up to 90 percent of a total project cost. The remaining $40,000 is for administrative costs, $10k of which would go to the Chamber of Southern Saratoga County (CSSC) for training in things like management and business operations to the grant recipients. The other $30,000 is payable to The LA Group in Saratoga Springs identified as a “Landscape Architecture & Engineering, P.C.” on their website.
Chamber President Pete Bardunias said their staff “featured the opportunity in the CSSC’s newsletter and email bulletins to about 2400 recipients, he helped broadcast with a mention on the “pre-Christian” 101.3FM station, and some businesses were contacted directly. CSSC also shared the info with the Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake Business and Professional Association (BHBLBPA) and it was featured on their website and social media outlets plus the outreach of the grant Visioning Committee.
I’m not sure of the total reception since most of the inquiries were directed to the LA Group, but businesses we talked to seemed quite interested. As you know there is always a healthy skepticism toward government grant programs by the business community but this one seems like a good opportunity for entrepreneurs, which is why we agreed to get involved, and we look forward to helping the Town of Ballston’s business community grow and prosper as partners in this grant program.”
Jim Martin of The LA Group said his firm “assists with those will the application process, publicity, coordination of training, reporting and overseeing the entire administration of the grant to ensure compliance with details like training completion, environmental reviews, job creation and tracking requirements.”
After seeing the grant prove successful in Otsego county, Martin says he recommended the application to the Town of Ballston.
Martin, an experienced grant administrator is a senior planner and economic development specialist with the LA Group. He has experience in zoning with Corinth and Moreau and is a current town board member in Glenville.
In addition to the CSSC and BHBLBPA, the availability of the grant was promoted through letters from the Ballston Farmland Protection committee and with help from the Saratoga County Prosperity Partnership.
Shelby Schneider, Director of Business Retention & Expansion for Saratoga County Prosperity Partnership said, “we have been promoting the Ballston Micro-Enterprise Grant program in our [email protected] bi-weekly newsletter and we also have been directing entrepreneurs to the program. It’s an excellent program for small businesses in the Town.”
“We are making space for any applicants interested in our upcoming “Get Your Books in Order” Quickbooks training course that we are offering Jan. 22-26. This course is made possible with a grant we received from the USDA for small business assistance,” Schneider added.
Martin also said there were a total of about 20 applications overall, most of which did not meet the initial qualifications required by the grant terms.