Community and Business Development News

Community and Business Development - July 26, 2013

Elizabeth Coyne, a designer and entrepreneur, is the winner of the city’s Small Business Plan Competition and will receive a $5,000 grant for start-up costs and up to $5,000 in a matching micro-loan.

Coyne’s business, S2dio Supplies, was selected from among 14 start-ups that submitted business plans. S2dio Supplies is a mobile art supply store that will serve the art community and school art programs with art supplies that are not available in local stores. Coyne is currently operating as a “pop-up” business to validate the business model. Eventually, she hopes to base her business in a vehicle. 

Coyne said the business plan competition spurred her to act on what she saw as an unfilled niche in the market. “When the Small Business Plan Competition was announced I thought, ‘Maybe that somebody could be me.’ It opened the door for me to discover more about all the programs the city has to support small businesses.”

The business plans were judged by the city’s Small Business Loan Committee, which comprises five members from such occupations as banking, real-estate, the law and small business. Andrew Dreyfuss, the committee chair, said that Coyne’s business plan did the best job of defining the business opportunity, existing competition, and the proposed operational, marketing and financial plan. “An added bonus was that we consider ourselves the city of arts and innovation,” he said, “and this was an interesting combination of innovation and arts all wrapped up in a unique format.”

The Small Business Plan Competition was designed to help entrepreneurs develop sound business plans. Entries had to be for micro-businesses (five employees or less) located within the Neighborhood Revitalization Strategy Area. This area includes downtown and portions of the northern, southern and eastern quadrants of the city. Business plans must also create low- to moderate-income jobs or benefit low- to moderate-income residents.

In February, the city received 45 executive summaries of proposed businesses. Of these, 18 were invited to write and submit complete business plans, and 14 followed through. Although the Small Business Loan Committee chose only one winner, everyone who submitted a business plan is eligible to apply for a small business loan, and can receive guidance on how to improve their business plan. 

For more information on the city’s programs to assist small businesses, go to the Development office or call CityLink 311.

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