Athens Review, Athens, Texas

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July 15, 2013

A boost on the homefront

Boots to Business program to benefit veterans

Athens — The Gun Barrel City Economical Development Corporation has established a Boots to Business matching $50,000 grant.

Gun Barrel City Councilman Dennis Baade recently spoke to the Cedar Creek Lake Area Chamber of Commerce about the grant.

“This is a special grant opportunity  for men and women of the Armed Forces who wish to open a business in Gun Barrel City,” Baade said. “This is a matching grant program. If you want $5,000 you will need to have $5,000 to match the grant.”

The goal of the grant is to assist veteran-owned businesses so they can provide jobs, products and services to area citizens. 

A veteran can receive the entire $50,000 or part of the grant. According to Baade, support from the EDC can include financial assistance through loan guarantees, low-interest loans and grants.

The type of businesses the EDC would like to see come to the Gun Barrel City area include health and medical services, financial, hospitality, information technology, manufacturing, professional services, residential and commercial construction, sports and recreation, restaurants, retail and senior services.

The Boots to Business Grant requires participants to go through an application process and present a business plan. Those eligible must have been  honorably discharged veterans from a least one branch of the U. S. military. A person currently serving in the reserves may also quality.

Grants are only available for businesses located within city limits of Gun Barrel City. The business plan should include an overview of the business, business goals, expense estimates and budgets, sales or financial projections, employment strategy and financial information.

Baade said help with a business plan can be obtained from the GBCEDC or the Small Business Assistance Center at Trinity Valley Community College in Athens. There is no cost to use the EDC or Small Business Assistance Center.

Baade said the Boots to Business grants are not loans. These are grants and will not need to be paid back to GBCEDC.

A committee of EDC members and community volunteers are in place to work with grant applicants or those who are considering applying.

Anyone interested or would like to discuss their ideas prior to submitting an application for the Boots to Business Grant should contact the GBCEDC at 903-887-1899.

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