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Small Business

New Micro-Grant Program Available for Small Business Owners

Have you thought about starting your own business, but need start-up funds?

Would you like to expand your small business, but lack the funding to do so? The Virtual Entrepreneurship Center (VEC), an online partnership of Alabama A&M, Auburn and Tuskegee Universities, announces a program called the Business Start-Up and Expansion Grant. The program is designed to fund two potential needs in business. Capital start-up is a micro-grant category which might assist entrepreneurs and small businesses in the capital costs to form a business, company or organization. The second area of focus for the grants allows expansion opportunities for existing businesses to enhance current operations, or purchase additional equipment or supplies.

What’s the catch? The VEC wants to make you a certified expert first. Enroll in and complete the online entrepreneurship certification program, at no charge, and then apply for a grant. The VEC certificate is beneficial in several ways. The program can be completed in less than one month. Topics include key issues and strategies in starting a business. The focus is on the development of specialized skills with knowledge relevant to successful entrepreneurship.

The VEC’s online certificate program allows you to access online learning at any time. Individuals who have business, personal or family obligations will find the program easy to fit to busy schedules. Interested participants can find more details of the program on the VEC website. The Grant Program tab takes users to a comprehensive description of the certification process and leads to a link which opens an application. The process is fast, efficient and flexible and is designed for individuals who have a limited amount of time to devote to self-training. A combination of written materials, multi-media presentations and related web links help users access an array of topics prepared and delivered by experts in the business world.

The program is managed by Dr. Roger Richardson of Alabama Cooperative Extension System. Dr. Richardson, located on the campus of Alabama A&M University in Huntsville, has experience in small business ownership and management. He oversees the micro-grant project which is part of the VEC. Questions about the online certification program and the micro-grants awarded on the website, may be directed to him at or 256-520-7825.

October 8, 2014

By and Press-Register staff

(Elizabeth Phillips is an Extension Agent with the Baldwin County Extension Office. Contact her at or call her at 251-937-7176)

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