Have you ever thought of owning your own business? The agency’s microenterprise initiative empowers individuals and families by helping them develop and, if needed, finance small start-up businesses that can grow to provide full-time or supplementary income to their households.
The program is available to those whose income is less than 80% of median income as established by the Department of Housing and Urban Development, who reside in or are willing to locate their business in CMCA’s 8 county service area and who do not have access to traditional bank financing.
Classroom Training – Operation Jump Start First Step® – This 6-week course is used primarily for start up businesses or existing businesses that are looking for significant change and expansion. This class can help entrepreneurs decide whether or not their business ideas are feasible, and then help them to begin a business plan.
Business Planning – The microenterprise staff is available to help clients with their business planning, whether it is a new effort, or the client is revising an earlier plan. The business plan is the basic unit that will assist microenterprise staff in evaluating the business concept. It can provide staff with ideas of how best to organize help and resources for the entrepreneur. Finally, it can act as a lead-in to an application for financial assistance.
One-on-One Consultation - is offered by the microenterprise staff who meet individually with clients that need help in a variety of ways - developing their business ideas, creating a marketing plan, market research, cash flow projections, financial statements, time management, bookkeeping, etc.
Group Technical Assistance – Similar to one-on-one, CMCA staff explores the benefits of entrepreneurs networking together to work on issues related to business creation and business management.
Coaching – Once in business, the owner will work with a coach to help sort options, and identify resources. Coaches may be staff or community mentors.
Post-Loan Technical Assistance - For those clients that obtain loans from the Microloan Fund (MLF), post-loan technical assistance is provided. Post-loan technical assistance is available to all MLF borrowers to help ensure the survival and/or growth of the business, and to guard against possible loan default. That assistance includes one-on-one meetings, phone calls, correspondence, and possible referral to training classes that help with issues related to small business start up, small business management, accessing markets, marketing, financial management and record-keeping, among other topics.
Business Financial Education – Like mainstream financial literacy courses, this class emphasizes the understanding the financial operation of a business. Though not required, it will be encouraged as a course for most clients to attend; as CMCA has a strong priority to promote financial understanding at all levels.
Workshops – When five or more clients request assistance or show a deficit in a certain area of business management, a workshop is designed and held. Topics include: Cash flow management, marketing techniques, e-commerce, or computer bookkeeping.
Referrals – A resource network of small business practitioners and professionals that commonly help businesses is available in order for CMCA to make good referrals of clients to those other services offered by partners that will best meet the clients’ needs and ensure that budding entrepreneurs obtain the most pertinent and appropriate assistance in developing their business ideas or plans.
Financing Your Microbusiness
CMCA’s Microenterprise Initiative’s loan fund provides the microenterprise borrowers with access to capital that they might not otherwise find. While monthly installment loans are the most typical form of loan from the loan fund, the hallmark of microenterprise lending is its ability to provide flexible loan structures that best assist the entrepreneur in creating and growing a successful venture.
Funds for this program provided through donations from Commerce Bank, Bank of Missouri, Callaway Bank, US Bank Foundation, Community Foundation of Central Missouri, City of Columbia, USDA-Rural Development, Kings Daughters and private individuals.