Unique programming supports local entrepreneurial spirit
Most entrepreneurs need some sort of jump start to get a business off the ground.
That is the purpose of JumpStart, a nonprofit venture development organization that provides technical services and capital to Toledo-area Black, Latino, Hispanic and women-owned small businesses, said Vicki McDonald, JumpStart communications manager.
“It is intended to help small businesses gain the support they need to scale and grow and create jobs,” she said.
According to Ms. McDonald, JumpStart is resourced through a diversified funding model, which includes charitable giving, public investment, and financial returns.
Recently, the KeyBank Foundation, which is the bank’s philanthropic arm, announced a $1.1 million grant to fund JumpStart for the next five years.
The bank has had a longstanding partnership with the JumpStart organization, which is based in Cleveland, said Jim Hoffman, market president for KeyBank in Northwest Ohio. Four years ago the bank assisted with the opening of a JumpStart office in Toledo and joined with ProMedica to provide $800,000 in funds to launch the program here, he said.
“In Toledo, we wanted to elevate the small business creation ecosystem,” Mr. Hoffman said.
In addition to assisting with the opening of a new Toledo office, the bank also facilitated streamlining eight other small businesses service providers that were functioning in the Toledo community, which allowed the organization to increase capacity and implement a robust mentoring program, he said.
“We asked JumpStart to create a collaborative network so that all eight of them come together and help each other with resources and programming so they are much more effective,” he said. “If we can help minorities and women start more businesses, since they are both underrepresented and underserved, we believe that can really improve our communities, improve job creation and help create wealth in those communities.”
Business owner Quintin Riley, 36, of Toledo, benefited from JumpStart’s Small Business Impact program in 2020 to expand his professional floor cleaning company, Legendary Carpet Care. Through the program, Mr. Riley received a $5,000 grant and $35,000 business loan, which he used to purchase a new van with a truck-mounted cleaning system. He also took part in a 12-week educational program, which provided intensive industry-specific one-on-one mentoring and technical assistance.
“It did exactly what the name says,” Mr. Riley said. “It jump started me to move into a direction I was starting to move in. They helped me elevate my business and have a network of people who continuously support me.”
With guidance from the program, Mr. Riley established new business goals and developed a plan to reach those goals.
Last year, the company reached its net profit numbers and with continual sales growth is on track to hit those numbers again this year, he said. Maintaining a focus of being a family-owned and locally operated company, Mr. Riley plans to add four more to the staff and roll out new restoration services this year. His long-term goal is to expand his business in the Toledo area and eventually throughout Ohio.
Mr. Riley’s journey in business began in 2010 when he worked in housekeeping at a local hospital and a coworker introduced him to the idea of making extra money through side cleaning jobs at commercial properties.
“A church had just paid him (Mr. Riley’s coworker) $800 to do their floors, and it took him four hours so I’m thinking that we’ve got to work 40 hours to make $800 at that time so I wondered why not do it more or start a business, and that’s how I got the idea,” he said.
It would be many more years, and many challenges before that idea materialized, he said. Initially, he joined his brother-in-law to start a side business using rental equipment and a borrowed car. He eventually connected with Assets Toledo, a local non-profit organization supporting small businesses to secure a $4,000 grant, which he used to purchase equipment and an old van. At the time he was barely breaking even and after his brother-in-law stepped away from the business, he was left wondering if he should keep it going.
“I wanted to quit a whole bunch of times, a thousand times I wanted to quit, but I didn’t,” he said. “Then in 2018 I began to have a complete change, I believe God put something in my spirit and I had a change on my personal side and in my business.”
After strengthening his relationship with his wife LaToya, he turned his attention to his business and implemented a rebranding effort, launched a new website, implemented a new email and text marketing program, and enrolled in the JumpStart program.
“I can’t put into words how grateful I am and if I can bring awareness to the programs in any way I will and I would tell any entrepreneur that if you are serious about what you are doing, or if you are stagnant or if you need some help, those programs would be good to look into,” he said.
The Jump Start Small Business Impact Program summer cohort begins June 9. Applications will be accepted through May 13 at https://www.jumpstartinc.org/smallbiz/programs/impact/.
Posted By: The Toledo Blade on March 9, 2022. For more information, please click here to read the source article.
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