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Catapult Fund: Support for Small Businesses in the Culinary Arts

Catapult Fund: Support for Small Businesses in the Culinary Arts


Attention chefs, restaurant owners, caterers, food truck operators, food market vendors, food product manufacturers, cooking schools and others with small, Louisiana businesses in the culinary arts.

The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation has partnered with four organizations to provide small business owners in the food industry with training - and grant funding.

Applications are open now for the 2016 edition of the Catapult Fund. No more than 12 business owners will be selected.

To apply, please read the detailed guidelines here, and then complete an online application here.

The deadline to apply is May 27.

This is the second phase of a pilot program. The initial phase, which took place in 2014, provided training and awarded grants to 11 business owners from around Louisiana in a diverse group of arts disciplines. For more on the first phase of the program, see here.

The 2016 phase of the Catapult Fund is focused on the culinary arts.

To be eligible, applicants must have small Louisiana-based businesses in the food industry. These may include: restaurants, chefs, caterers, food trucks, food product manufacturers, cooking schools and others filling a niche in their local markets.

The Catapult Fund provides a 16-session course, over a four-month period, of business training. Courses will be taught in:

    Developing a business growth plan
    Developing your business pitch
    Finance, credit and managing debt
    Insurance and risk management
    Business structures (LLC, C-Corp, sub-S Corp, partnerships, etc.)
    Accounting and record keeping
    Cash flow and budgeting
    Sales, marketing and customer service
    Marketing and social media
    Human resources
    Food safety and health
    Customer development and retention
    Menu development
    Local and organic food sourcing
    Healthy food options (vegan, gluten-free, etc.)
    Food sales in an outdoor festival environment

Participants also will receive intensive training in safe food handling and will take the ServSafe certification exam.

Those who successfully complete all aspects of the Catapult Fund training program will be awarded cash grants from a pool totaling $75,000.

Business owners in the culinary arts should consider applying for the Catapult Fund if they meet the following criteria:

    They have a small business in the culinary arts in Louisiana
    Their business has gross annual revenues of less than $500,000
    They need training in best business practices
    They want to learn how to write a business plan
    They need access to funding
    They are willing to commit to participating in a 16-session training program over a four-month period in New Orleans


The deadline to apply is May 27. After the applications are reviewed and the participants selected, courses will begin in late June and will continue through October. Courses will be taught on Wednesday afternoons, from 1 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., in New Orleans. Participants must be able to attend in person.

The Catapult Fund is a program of the Jazz & Heritage Foundation, which is providing most of the funding for the program as well as overall coordination. The project is in some ways a successor to an older program called S.E.E.D. (Supporting and Enfranchising Economic Development), which gave micro-loans to businesses in partnership with a local bank from 1994 to 2005. Additional funding for the 2016 Catapult Fund comes from Capital One Bank's Community Development Department.

“The Jazz & Heritage Foundation has over the years provided millions of dollars in grant funding to nonprofits and education programs through our Community Partnership Grants,” said Executive Director Don Marshall. “With the explosion of entrepreneurship in our region, we also want to support those businesses working in the arts that are contributing to the development of a sustainable cultural industry.

"The Catapult fund is an example of how we're continuing to find ways to support our community with innovative new programs," Marshall said, adding: “We wanted to distinguish ourselves from other entrepreneurship assistance programs by reaching deep into the grass-roots community, and making sure everyone knows about this opportunity."

Our partners in the Catapult Fund are:

    The Louisiana Cultural Economy Foundation
    Capital One
    Louisiana Small Business Development Center
    The Ashé Cultural Arts Center

The Catapult Fund is open to small businesses in the culinary arts in Louisiana (including LLCs, sole-proprietorships and incorporated businesses).

Startups are welcome, as are seasoned businesses.

Applying businesses must have gross annual revenues of less than $500,000.

Eligible businesses are those whose main area of focus is in the culinary arts.

Businesses that are not yet registered with the State of Louisiana, do not have occupational licenses, do not have Profit & Loss statements or cannot provide a current tax return/schedule C are welcome to apply.

Nonprofits and individuals (other than sole-proprietorships) are not eligible.

Religious organizations, government entities and businesses with outstanding state or federal tax obligations also are not eligible to apply.

Detailed guidelines – which include specifics on what documentation will be required with applications – are online here. After reading the guidelines, please use the online application form here.

The deadline to apply is May 27.

Application Assistance
The Jazz & Heritage Foundation will host several workshops to provide assistance with the online application process. The Ashé Cultural Arts Center will serve as a "drop in" center for those seeking individual assistance with the application or access to computers.

For general questions or media inquiries about the Catapult Fund, please contact the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation by sending an email here.

The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival and Foundation, Inc.