This program will be geared towards revitalizing the business districts in rural Louisiana communities because we strongly believe that thriving business districts will have a direct positive impact on eradicating poverty. This program will include:
- Storefront makeovers: We will provide small matching-grants in order to assist in the beautification of vacant, occupied and neglected storefronts by connecting neighborhood businesses and property owners with local artists, developers, organizations, and universities to collaborate on design and storefront improvements. That will inevitably boost economic activity in the communities, encourage public and private investment, and improve the appearance of individual buildings.
- Business Development Training: In partnership with various educational institutions and community organizations, we will organize business development workshops geared towards delivering basic business training to participants who already own small businesses. The participants will benefit from information and resources on business planning, personal and business finance, insurance, risk management, business entity options, tax, workers compensation, government contracting, among other critical business related training. The training sessions will provide them with information on how to formulate a business plan, and provide them with connections to technical assistance providers and private companies that other necessary business development services. The workshops will train existing business owners on financial management for their businesses to enable them to run and grow their businesses sustainably.
That will encourage aspiring and existing entrepreneurs to start and grow their businesses in the rural communities, or to reinvest in their businesses and revitalize the local economy. The training will be expected to improve the economic self-sufficiency of families and individuals who live under the poverty line. Some of the resultant benefits will include:
- The boosting of household income through promotion of entrepreneurial opportunities.
- The creation of part-time or entry-level jobs for neighborhood residents, including the youth.
- Revitalized commercial districts
- Improved access to goods and services in the neighborhoods.
- A diversified local economy.