Asset Builders program expands to help small business owners

Updated: Sep. 14, 2017 at 6:41 PM CDT
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LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - Asset Builders of Southwest Louisiana is expanding to help small business owners.

The program, which is funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, helps residents with low to moderate incomes in Allen, Beauregard, Calcasieu, Cameron and Jeff Davis parishes save to buy homes.

Now, Asset Builders is adding a Business Capitalization Component to the program that will help existing business owners capitalize on their investments, according to the Calcasieu Parish Police Jury.

Those eligible for the program are business owners who meet the following criteria: they must live in Allen, Beauregard, Calcasieu, Cameron, or Jeff Davis parishes; they must be one year active in business; they must have a business banking account, EIN, Schedule C (if applicable), and occupational license (if required by their local government); and they must attend a program orientation, according to the CPPJ.

Those accepted into the program would open IDAs - savings accounts that match the deposits of participants up to a pre-determined maximum - to capitalize on existing businesses. The match program can be as brief as six months or as long as two years, according to CPPJ.

First Federal Bank and JD Bank are the banking partners in the initiative.

An orientation for the program is being held Saturday, Sept. 16 from 9 to 11 a.m. at SOWELA Technical Community College's Regional Training Center, at 3749 Senator J. Bennett Johnston Avenue in Lake Charles, and will cover information like eligibility criteria, eligible uses of the grant funds, and required coursework.

Potential applicants will also be able to pick up applications and ask questions about the program.

The program will kick off Oct. 1.

The initiative is a partnership of the Calcasieu Parish Police Jury Human Services Department, Project Build a Future, United Way of Southwest Louisiana, Habitat for Humanity: Calcasieu Area Inc., the Lake Charles North Redevelopment Authority, the Southwest Louisiana Economic Development Alliance, and the Louisiana Small Business Development Center at McNeese State University, and is being partially funded through the Calcasieu Parish Public Trust Authority and other local agencies, according to CPPJ.

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