Chautauqua Opportunities for Development is offering help for individuals meeting eligibility requirements interested in starting or expanding a cottage industry or home-based business..
The program helps entrepreneurs save money for cottage industry development or expansion through a matched savings account called an Individual Development Account.
A cottage industry is defined as a business in which the creation of products and/or services is home-based rather than factory-based. For example, an individual could make baked goods in their house and sell them to area restaurants. It can be an economical choice for any individual, since staying at home means less money for gas and other work-related expenses. However, there may be start up expenses such as Internet service, electricity, purchase of equipment and advertising which may prevent a person from beginning their venture.
"Participating in the Cottage Industry Program allows the at-home entrepreneur to learn the skills needed to help ensure business success. In achieving a one to one savings match with the Cottage Industry Individual Development Account, entrepreneurs will reach their monetary goals faster, enabling the start up of their at-home business," said Carol Ford, CODI business development specialist.
After completing a training course, participants will identify a savings goal and open a CODI sponsored savings account at a partnering financial institution. Participants will set a schedule of deposits and CI-IDA accountholders will receive regular statements from the financial institution detailing how much they have saved. Participants will have up to nine months to accumulate savings. CODI will add the matching money, up to $500 per participant and $1,000 in total savings, to the account once the participant has reached their savings goal. Participants will then be allowed to withdraw money for the agreed upon business expenses. The bank then issues the cashier's checks to the vendors which the cottage industry entrepreneur has identified to the program.
"Participants in this program can reap a variety of benefits towards their goals of having a home based business," Ford said. "They can use their funds toward one large savings goal, such as business startup costs, or to make withdrawals for a number of smaller, related goals, such as training or purchasing materials that will enable the cottage industry to move forward. "
Eligible participants must meet one of the following income guidelines:
Household is at or below 125 percent of poverty level in the 2012 federal poverty guidelines; or
Household has less than $10,000 in net assets.
The net asset calculation excludes the primary home and first car. For example, the participant owns a home worth $145,000, one car worth $10,000 and $15,000 of other assets. The participant owes $7,500 on credit cards, yielding net assets of $7,500.
The fee for the course is $40 for each participant and is available for Chautauqua County residents only. Those interested can call Carol Ford at 661-9430.
The mission of Chautauqua Opportunities for Development Inc is to promote and create economic independence through business development opportunities.