Cville Program Aims to Help Entrepreneurs Develop Business Plans

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Small businesses in Charlottesville can tap into funds to boost their bottom lines. A grant pilot program is currently taking applications to help entrepreneurs develop better business plans to survive and thrive.

The Advancing Charlottesville Entrepreneurs - or ACE - grant program started with a $50,000 pot of money from a community development block grant and the city last July.

Evergreen Document Destruction and Recycling is one of eight small businesses in Charlottesville that tapped into the grant funding so far. The ACE program allows owner Michael Kruse to work with a consultant to develop a marketing plan to attract new clients to his 11-year-old business.

The city's economic development office is currently encouraging other existing small businesses to apply for this pilot program.

“Though we provide a very good service and our clients really rely on us and stick with us, I'm not a natural at sales,” said Kruse. “They're really helping me a lot with that aspect.”

“We're not talking tens of thousands of dollars. This is just hundreds and thousands of dollars to help them with resources for that,” said Jess Ness, economic development specialist. “It's a way for them to be able to increase their revenue in a quick way.”

The grants provide a consultant to find those ways to increase revenue in a six-month period. This first round of ACE grants runs through the end of June.

Charlottesville has applied for the funding again for the next fiscal year.

Small business owners interested in applying for the grant, click here.

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