Entrepreneurs who are starting or expanding restaurants, museums, hotels or any other businesses that attract tourists can take advantage of a matching funds loan program available through the Illinois Bureau of Tourism
Under the Tourism Attraction Loan Program, loan proceeds can be used for land acquisition, equipment purchase or installation, or working capital. They can also be used on a limited basis for research and development, feasibility studies, and management and marketing planning for new tourist attractions. The project must ultimately increase hotel and motel occupancy and tourism or better serve tourists.
The loan cannot be the primary source of capital or exceed $40,000, and must be no more than 50 percent of the actual expenditures needed for a single project.
Applications will be accepted through March 30; prospective applicants should call Marilyn Hurst at (217) 524-2998.
Center Invests In Growing Companies
Kansas City-area entrepreneurs needing start-up or growth capital can find it at the Center for Business Innovation, Inc. (CBI).
This nonprofit organization assists small-business owners with $1 million or less in sales who want to raise $100,000 to $750,000 in capital by selling equity in their companies. The amount of ownership offered ranges from 3 percent to 25 percent.
Applicants must make an oral presentation of their business plan to CBI. Those selected receive assistance with every aspect of building a business, from where to locate and assembling a management team to product development.
One of 30 such centers around the country, CBI serves communities within a 200-mile radius of its office. For more information, all (816) 561-8567
Small Businesses Sought
The College for Urban, Labor and Metropolitan Affairs at Wayne State University in Michigan is compiling a database of all the small business in Detroit.
Through its Michigan Metropolitan Information Center, the college is seeking data on the location, history, ownership, sales and product or service characteristics of companies with fewer than 100 employees and sales under $5 million.
The information will be used in community-based economic planning. To obtain a survey, call the center at (313) 577-8359.
Schools Provide Help For Entrepreneurs
If you're in need of business advice but short on cash, consider going back to school for help. Universities and colleges are filled with talented student and faculty members who can offer creative solutions to your business problems. Following is just a sampling of what is available; check with local schools for programs in your area.
- Harvard Student Agencies offers small-business owners in the Boston area low-cost services, including graphic design, temporary personnel and software testing. Fees are typically up to 50 percent less than market rates. For information, call (617) 495-3030
- The Institute for Women as Entrepreneurs, a new program sponsored by and located at the school of Business Administration at the University of Tennessee, Chattanooga, offers free information and assistance to women entrepreneurs starting or expanding businesses. Assistance is provided by students, faculty and outside consultants. The process begins by calling (423) 755-4412 to schedule an evaluation with a small-business consultant.
- Rent-a-Brain consulting services offers small-business owners in the Riverside, California, area assistance with marketing, customer satisfaction and feasibility studies; business plan development; product test marketing and more. Working under the supervision of faculty members a team of students from La Sierra University's Student in Free Enterprise program help entrepreneurs at almost any stage of their company's development.
Fees charged are lower than market rates. For more information, call (909) 785-2058 or (909) 785-2060.
- The Institute for Small Business, created by Georgia State University in Atlanta with help from business assistance organizations and private corporations, is aimed at introducing entrepreneurs to leading experts in all phases of growing and managing a company.
In November, the institute began a series of quarterly breakfast meetings, where small-business owners spend three hours learning about issues including marketing, leadership and family in business. The next meeting is tentatively scheduled for February 14.
In addition to the quarterly networking and educational breakfasts, the institute plans to develop programs where its MBA students (mostly working professionals already in management positions) can take internships in small business. The cost of annual membership in the institute is $250. For more information, call (404) 651-2815