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Augusta business owners can apply for a $10,000 grant through an initiative called Seeds for Life. The Housing and Community Development department gave 10 of these grants out last year. Soon they will give out 5 more and you still have time to apply.
The deadline for the 2019 application is Friday, July 19th by midnight.
Housing and Development Director Hawthorne Welcher explains why they are giving $150,00 worth of grants to 15 small business owners through th Seeds for Life program.
“The whole motto is, we want to plant a seed with the hopes that a tree will grow and we did 10 of these last year. Currently, we have applications on the street now to recruit to get an additional 5,” Welcher says.
NewsChannel 6’s Ashley Osborne talked to 2 of the 10 business owners who were chosen last year and they gave some great advice for those who want to apply for the grant. Some of the advice they shared is good for business owners in general.
“Small businesses, they are like the lifeblood of a city. This is what gives us our heart,” says Jennifer Tinsley who owns Field Botanicals on 12th Street.
Field is an indie beauty store in downtown Augusta that sells make up, hair care, skincare, body care, bath products. Everything they carry is cruelty free and vegan.
Tinsley says she used part of the $10,000 she won last year to hire 2 new people. She also invested in signage and marketing.
“I got an A-frame sign. I have the sign out front. About 50% of new customers I get are based on, you know, they saw the sign and came in. I also got into the Little Guide, which is kinda the book, the red book in Downtown Augusta and so people from out of town pick that up in hotels or Air BnBs.
2 miles up the road from Field Botanicals is Dapper and Company on Wrightboro Rd. Owner Daryl Rolle is another business owner who received a grant in 2018.
“We offer men’s grooming services for today’s progressive guy in a comfortable environment,” Rolle explains. “What we do is, you know, we focus on the experience of the whole shop atmosphere.”
For those who want to apply for the grant, Rolle says know your numbers, know what your business is all about and be able to articulate the information.
“Make sure you understand your business because you have to be able to take what you have going on inside your mind and you have to translate it to a group of people to help them understand your vision and where your business is going,” Rolle says.
If you are chosen based on your application, he second part of the process is a Shark Tank- style pitch to a group of community leaders. Basically, you have to sell your business and why you should get the money to a panel.
Rolle shares what Seeds for Life means for him and for the community at large.
“You’re looking at a government that’s saying, hey listen, we’re going to bet on our small business sector. If we invest these dollars into the small business sector, they are going to be able to provide opportunities. They’re going to be able to provide jobs and resources to help build that bottom line to help strengthen our economic core as well as to add to the tax base,” Rolle says.
A daycare, restaurants and salons were among the first round of grant recipients.