Boone County, Ind. – The Boone County Economic Development Corporation’s (Boone EDC) Propel Program is helping old town favorites adapt and creating opportunities for new businesses to blossom. Since April, the Boone EDC has loaned $63,800 to local small businesses with more funds available to help businesses soar into the new year.
“When the pandemic started, many of our main street businesses were either unable to open or were open at a smaller capacity, we knew we needed to help,” said Rachel Huser, Boone EDC Economic Development Manager.
“Small businesses make up 79% of Boone County businesses. Their unique offerings and resilient owners make Boone County a great place to live and play. Our communities wouldn’t be the same without them. That is why this program exists.“
Today, the Propel Program, formerly the Small Business Economic Relief Fund, is a microloan program available to both established Boone County businesses and startups. Loan amounts start at $10,000 with the ability to adjust the amount depending on each application. The program uniquely offers funds alongside small business assistance through trusted partners in one-on-one coaching, IT and marketing support.
“We started with a vision to create a relief fund to soften the blow seen by our small businesses that were the hardest hit during the shut-down,” said Molly Whitehead, Boone EDC Executive Director. “What that vision turned into was an opportunity to revive our business community, creating a springboard for innovative business decisions and leading to the resiliency of our main street, mom-and-pop businesses as we go into the holiday season and a new year.”
One of the program’s recipients, high-end hair salon No Label Studio located in downtown Zionsville, was recently announced as the top salon in Indianapolis in Indy’s Best Things by the Indianapolis Star— a feat that may not have been in sight in April. “The Propel Program allowed my business to continue to operate during the Stay-At-Home order” said salon owner Rio White. “Without their assistance, both financially and through the advisory services provided with the program, No Label Hair Studio would not have had such a strong foothold once we were allowed to re-open”.
With a simple goal to help businesses adapt, launch, operate, and grow, the Propel Program can be used for facility improvements and sanitation, adjustments needed for increased demand, or marketing, such as the set-up of an e-commerce site or social media ads, or a new venture.
The program’s newest recipient, Reks Mini Mart is doing just that by starting with ambitions to be the store “Where Convenience and Community Meet”. Reks Mini Mart is a new convenience market and hot foods store that provides a much-needed amenity in the Town of Advance. Reks aims to be not only a place to shop but also a gathering place where people can build community in the small town. The Propel Program loan will create a strong foundation for the business, providing capital to help with the early months of operations.
The Propel Program is also funded by supporting partners City of Lebanon, Town of Whitestown, Town of Zionsville, MonoSol, a Kuraray Division, Duke Energy, and Allman Johnson CPAs. To learn more about the Propel Program visit www.betterinboone.org/propel.