Special to the Review
The Athens Review
GUN BARREL CITY – The Gun Barrel City Economic Development Corporation is offering up to $50,000 to a veteran or veterans interested in bringing a new business to town, or expanding an existing business within the city.
The Boots to Business Grant Program was announced to veterans’ organizations throughout the Cedar Creek Lake Area and nationwide over the Veterans Day weekend.
Dennis Baade, a Gun Barrel City Councilman and member of the EDC Board of Directors, said the EDC designated the funds within their 2013 budget as incentive to business-minded veterans to choose Gun Barrel City as the location for their business. The goal is to bring needed jobs and services to the community.
“We wanted to do our part to help our valued military personnel return to civilian life. We’re interested in helping those who dream of owning their own business, and who can show us viable business plans. We are ready to provide, not only money, but support, and help to turn their dreams into reality here in Gun Barrel City,” Baade said.
According to the Economic Development Corporation, Gun Barrel City is in favor of progressive growth that fits within the EDC’s identified focus areas. The town now has 7,500 residents, and caters to both families and retirees. It is a Go Texan Certified Retirement Community, and home to hundreds of “weekenders,” primarily from Dallas, who own second homes on the lake.
The grant application process will require submission of a comprehensive business plan that covers a list ranging from the business goals to 5-year financial projections, as well as estimates for employment and sales-tax generation.
A scoring system will also provide additional points to those businesses that are committed to hiring veterans and disabled veterans.
A committee, made up of citizens, veterans, business people and EDC board members, will review all applications. Deadline for submitting an application is March 15, 2013. Decisions on the first grant recipient or recipients will be made no later than April 30, 2013.
Baade said the EDC has made arrangements with Trinity Valley Community College and the Small Business Assistance Center there to provide free assistance to any applicants who want help completing the grant application process.
Gun Barrel City has recently welcomed national restaurant franchises, and new affordable senior-housing communities. It is also home to some fast-growing businesses that chose the location, simply because they could locate anywhere, and the lake location was helpful in attracting top talent.
Businesses that are of interest to the community, and that applicants are encouraged to propose, range from light industry and agriculture to technology and green businesses. The community also welcomes housing and construction, recreation-based businesses, retail and restaurants.
Grant criteria and an application can be obtained by contacting the Gun Barrel City Economic Development Corporation at 903-887-1899. Interested organizations representing veterans or individuals can also request a copy by e-mail by going to the EDC section of www.gunbarrelcity.net. A program summary and the grant criteria are posted on the Boots to Business page, along with e-mail contact information.
Applicants must be willing to establish their business, franchise or expansion in Gun Barrel City, and all applicants must either be honorably discharged from the military or be serving in the Military Reserves.
The winner(s) of the grant will be required to submit quarterly financial reports to the EDC for the first year of business. Baade says that ongoing support and counsel for business planning, marketing and operations will be available from the Small Business Assistance Center at Trinity Valley Community College and other entities.
For more information on the Gun Barrel City Boots to Business Grant Program, contact the Gun Barrel City Economic Development Corporation at 903-887-1899.