The Catapult Fund

In partnership with Capital One Bank, Louisiana Small Business Development Center, Louisiana Cultural Economy Foundation, and the Ashé Cultural Arts Center, the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation created the Catapult Fund to provide small business owners in the food industry with training and grant funding.  

Plans are currently under way for the next class. Applications are not open currently. To be notified when applications become open, please join our e-mail list.   

What they’re saying about the Catapult Fund: 

“I fell in love with my business again.”
– Fred Henry, Cafe Dauphine 

“From the day we were accepted into the program, we were excited about the ways the Catapult Fund would improve our business. Our hopes and expectations were blown away from what we got out of it. The capital, the knowledge, and the friendships are worth more to us than we can ever express.” 
– Karen and Chris Case, Old School Eats 

“The Jazz & Heritage Foundation’s Catapult Fund program saved my business! I am a first-time small business owner and desperately needed business classes and mentorship to help me learn the intricacies of my industry and clientele. The content of the classes were essential to my growth. The leadership of our mentors and instructors were incredible. The community of business owners that were created by our classmates is still priceless. So many of us keep in touch and field each other work! These components, along with grant money, have truly been the catalyst that has made my business soar! I am forever and ever grateful.”
– Becky Wasden, Two Girls One Shuck 

The Catapult Fund provides a 16-session course, over a five-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 $50,000. 

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 five-month period in New Orleans 

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 2018 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 by providing access to funding as well as business training.” 

Our partners in the Catapult Fund are: 

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

Who Can Apply? 

  • 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. Food markets, food product manufacturers and cooking schools are not eligible for the 2018 Catapult Fund program. 
  • 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. 


If you have questions about the Catapult Fund, the guidelines or the application, please send an email to 

For general questions or media inquiries about the Catapult Fund, please contact the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation by calling (504) 558-6108 or sending an email here. 

Links & Downloads: 

Catapult Fund Guidelines

Sample P&L

Profit & Loss Worksheet

Profit & Loss Worksheet