The goal of the Business Development Program is to help persons with low incomes gain self-sufficiency through self-employment. The program administers a Business Development Loan Fund which provides loans to start-up and existing eligible businesses. ADVOCAP is designated as a lender by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) for the Micro Loan Program.
Enrollment in the Job & Business Development (JBD) program is limited to persons whose income does not exceed 150% of poverty for the preceding 90 days. Preference is given to single parents enrolled in the W-2 program, dislocated workers, persons with disabilities, and those workers who have recently lost their jobs.
Business Development Specialists provide technical assistance to help participants start or expand a business. Technical assistance can include, but is not limited to the following:
- Business plan development
- Marketing plan development and implementation
- SBA* & USDA micro-loan application assistance (Loans provided through ADVOCAP)
*Funded in part through a Cooperative Agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration.
- Locating other financial resources
- Managerial evaluation
- Referral services
- Loan preparation
- Employment recruitment assistance
- Completing applications required by various state and federal agencies for identification numbers, sellers' permits, and various tax forms
The Business Development Department works very closely with the following local agencies and organizations to better serve income eligible persons by providing updated information on trainings, workshops, and seminars available through outside sources.
- Local lenders
- Local economic development corporations
- Department of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR)
- Small Business Development Centers (SBDC)
- Local social services departments
- Chambers of commerce
- Local technical colleges
- Jobs and career centers
- Other human services and economic development organizations