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Staunton Creative Community Fund

Mission: Staunton Creative Community Fund’s (SCCF) mission is connecting people, cultivating ideas, identifying resources, and providing access to capital to grow the local economy.

Community Need: How do you get the 358 million young people around the world currently not in education, employment or training into employment?  Solving the problem will require action across the public and private sectors to do two key things: create more jobs and give young people the skills and confidence to fill them.  Entrepreneurs play a vital role in job creation and providing opportunities to young people. Recent surveys show that entrepreneurs’ hiring plans outpace the rest. In 2015, 47% of entrepreneurs planned to increase the size of their workforce, compared to 29% of large corporations.  An entrepreneurial youth survey conducted last year found that 65% of the 2,800 young people surveyed want to run their own business, -27% want to do so immediately and 38% after learning from someone else first.  According to the survey, what young people most want is hands-on work experience and mentoring from entrepreneurs.

Primary Activities: SCCF stands on the three pillars of community, capital, and support.  They help entrepreneurs develop their ideas, connect them to the resources they need, and walk with them through the process of obtaining a loan. Through their one-on-one Business Counseling program, they provide support tailored to the specific needs of the individual and their business. They offer a business planning course to guide participants through the process of creating a business plan. Their Lightening Loan program offers existing businesses small-scale, short-term, low-interest rate loans ranging with a 12 month payback. Through their Mentorship program, SCCF connects small business owners with experienced mentors.  SCCF’s also offers loans ranging from $1,000 to $50,000 with up to a 5-year payback. Their interest rate is 7.25%, and can drop to 6.25% if at least a quarter of the goods or services being procured with the loan funds are being sourced locally.

Constituents Served: SCCF’s service area includes the cities of Staunton, Waynesboro, Harrisonburg, Lexington, and Buena Vista and Augusta, Rockingham, Rockbridge, Highland, and Bath Counties.  Anyone is eligible for their support services. Loan clients must be 18 years of age.  In 2017, SCCF served 213 individuals, provided 675 class hours, 360 hours of business counseling, and over $118,000 in capital investment, 21 new businesses were started, and 49 new jobs were created. 61% of their clients were women or minorities and 41% of their capital investments went to low-income entrepreneurs.

Program Details: SCCF intends to develop a Youth Entrepreneurship program for the Central Shenandoah Valley. Youth who graduate from quality and comprehensive entrepreneurship training programs gain: leadership and management skills; business management skills; networking experience; knowledge about money and financing; confidence; critical thinking skills; and planning and development skills. After a market assessment, and early consideration of monitoring and evaluation, the SCCF will design a program that provides youth with tailored entrepreneurship training. The will select beneficiaries and provide linkages to financing programs and support services such as coaching, mentorship, and follow-up training.

Amount Requested: $10,000

Operating Budget: $300,000

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