Monday, July 19, 2004

Appalachian entrepreneurs get grants

The Associated Press

COLUMBUS - Small-business owners in the Appalachian region of Southeastern Ohio are making soap, jewelry and pottery to sell.

But before an international organization began giving grants to low-income entrepreneurs, most of them just worried about making ends meet.

Trickle Up, based in New York, gives grants up to $700 to people in the lowest income brackets who want to start or expand a business.

The 25-year-old program helps people like Jennifer Tvorik. She didn't have the money to turn her pottery hobby into a business. But Trickle Up offered $700 in 2002 to help her buy an electric kiln.

Last month, she opened Nelsonville Pottery and Art Supply in Nelsonville.

Trickle Up grant applicants can earn no more than 175 percent of the poverty level, which for a single person is about $9,000. They also must have a budget and clear business plan before applying.

Trickle Up awarded its first grant in Ohio in 2001. It's helped 43 business owners in the Appalachian region of the state since then. Nationwide, the program has helped 2,532 businesses through 2003 since it began offering grants in the United States in 1994.

Rebecca Montero, the national program director for Trickle Up, said it is especially helpful for people who have to work from home because of children, disabilities or other reasons.

Trickle Up gives low-income entrepreneurs a $500 grant at first. If the enterprise has been successful after three months, they can get an additional $200. The money that Trickle Up hands out comes from donations, spokeswoman Dana Galin said.


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