EASLEY — The deadline is fast approaching for Main Street Challenge program candidates to get their paperwork submitted to the City of Easley to contend for the 2016 award.
Modeled off the successful program of the same name in Spartanburg and Pickens, the Main Street Challenge is both an entrepreneurial competition and a business opportunity in downtown Easley, created for the purpose of generating additional retail occupancy in downtown Easley.
The challenge provides a means for not only local, area and regional entrepreneurs to expand or relocate an existing business but also an opportunity for individuals to launch a new business.
Applicants must fill out a Main Street Challenge Concept Submittal form and submit it with concepts by the end of the business day on Jan. 29. The Main Street Challenge will select up to three winning entries to receive up to $1,000 in financial assistance for 12 consecutive months.
The award represents a potentially forgivable loan based on the recipient’s compliance with certain criteria. The payment acts as an incentive for business owners to put toward rent and start-up costs. Winning applicants are required to open their business in a downtown Easley location by Nov. 1, 2016.
Eligible business concepts include new start-up businesses, an expansion or relocation of an existing business, or a significant expansion that incorporates a new concept to an existing local business.
The City of Easley has several goals associated with the Main Street Challenge including the recruitment of new businesses to diversify the existing downtown marketplace, to highlight available properties and increase occupancy, to provide entrepreneurial businesses with financial support, and to increase traffic and buzz to downtown businesses.
The Main Street Challenge adheres to a strict timeline as laid out below:
• Jan. 29: Round one due: concept submittal
• March 4: Round two due: semi-finalists submit business plan
• March 25: Finalists pitch to business committee
• April 8: Winner(s) announced
• Nov. 1, 2016: Business opens
Visit www.cityofeasley.com for the official 2016 Main Street Challenge guidelines, rules and application. Print applications can be collected at Easley City Hall, 205 N. First St. in Easley.