Chamber hosts 'Free Money Fair'

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Business: Local organizations can learn more about grant/loan opportunities

By Arin McKenna

Los Alamos Commerce and Development Corporation Executive Director Kevin Holsapple said that business owners often ask where they can access grants and other resources that might help boost their enterprises. The LACDC decided to answer that question by organizing a Free Money Fair. The inaugural event takes place Wednesday.
Los Alamos Small Business Development Center Business advisor Katie Stavert researched available opportunities and organized the fair.
“Katy’s done a great job of really talking to and bringing together a variety of different sources for what truly is free money, if your business situation or your organization matches up to the particular program,” Holsapple said.
Representatives will give brief orientations about eight different opportunities, including eligibility requirements and the application process, which should help participants hone in on which programs might be a good fit for their businesses.
After the orientation, participants can talk individually with presenters to get further clarification about whether their business might qualify for the programs.
Holsapple believes any business, organization or entrepreneur can find something of interest at the fair.
“You might not think of the Arts Council or the Historical Society as businesses, but there are things they are eligible for in the same way businesses would be,” Holsapple said. “There’s a very broad set of things that can apply across the board, which with creativity people could take advantage of. There’s probably something in there for nearly everyone.”
Holsapple used the example of how home-based day care centers might team up with downtown businesses to take advantage of the MainStreet Small Promotions Grant.
“This money could be used to advertise an event where each of the day care centers team up with one of our downtown retail businesses or a restaurant to be onsite and provide info,” Holsapple said. “It may or may not be a good idea, but it’s an example of how it could really be applicable to just about any kind of business that puts their creative hat on and decides that teaming up with other people makes some sense for them.”
“Another unique opportunity if you’re a home-based business is the Pop-up Retail Opportunities,” Stavert said. “It offers a short-term occupancy option to try it out the downtown to see if maybe you do want to move your business downtown for a longer period of time.”
Not only small businesses but technology entrepreneurs may find their niche with Los Alamos County Small LEDA Project Grants.
MainStreet Curb Appeal Grant and Los Alamos County Façade Improvement Grants are both geared toward sprucing up the image a business presents to the world.
Other opportunities are specifically geared toward tourism.
The Lodgers Tax Advisory Board Small Promotions Grant supports events and promotional projects that encourage visitation and tourism.
Tourism Cooperative Advertising, a Los Alamos Meeting and Visitor Bureau (LAMVB) program, pays a portion of advertising costs promoting visitation and tourism to Los Alamos. LAMVB is also offering free cooperative advertising space within the Albuquerque International Sunport Airport.
The free workshop takes place from 2-4 p.m. Wednesday at the Small Business Center, 190 Central Park Square. Go to losalamosbusiness.com to register through noon Wednesday. Walk-ins will be welcome, but pre-registration is encouraged to expedite the registration process.