Catapult Fund

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Providing education and access to capital for Louisiana entrepreneurs in the arts.


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Attention chefs, restaurant owners, caterers, food truck operators and other entrepreneurs 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 for the 2018 class of the Catapult Fund are now available. As with the 2016 edition of the program, the 2018 Catapult Fund is focused on the culinary arts. Up to 12 Louisiana small business owners will be selected to participate.

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

To apply, please read the detailed program guidelines here, and submit an application by using this link. The deadline to apply is April 16. There is no cost to apply or to participate in the program.

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 deadline to apply is April 16. After the applications are reviewed and the participants selected, courses will begin in mid-May and will continue through September, with additional events in October and November. 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 and are required to complete 100 percent of classes in order to qualify for grant funding.

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

2018 Catapult Fund Dates:

April 16: Application Deadline

Class Schedule:
All classes are from 1 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. except as noted.

May 16: Introductions; Course Overview; Credit and Debt Management.
May 23: Leadership; Budgeting; Financial Pro Forma; Business Plan
May 30: Legal Business Structures; Licenses; Business Model; SWOT; Intro to ServSafe
June 6: Types and Styles of Food Businesses; Product/Menu Development; Food Sourcing (local and organic options)
June 13: Business Plan; Marketing and Branding; Healthy Options (e.g., gluten-free, vegan); Sustainable Waste Disposal
June 20: Sales and Customer Service; Financial: Sales Projections; Business Pitch
June 27: Marketing and Advertising: Social Media; ServSafe
July 11: Finance: Statements, Insurance, Taxes, POS Systems
July 18: Business Plan; Human Resources; ServSafe Training
July 25: Business Plan; Operations Systems; ServSafe
Aug. 1: Vendors & Services: Purchasing, Receiving, Storage
Aug. 8: Implementing ServSafe Systems: Outdoor Sales, Festival Sales, Food Truck Sales, Caterers, Restaurants
Aug. 15: Business Plan Final Steps; ServSafe Prep
Aug. 22 – 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. ServSafe course (eight hours) and exam
Aug. 29: Resources and Services; Business Plan Final; Pitch Practice
Sept. 5: Banking Services; Meet the Bankers Panel; Pitch Practice
Sept. 12: Next Steps; Future Growth; Pitch Presentation

Additional Sessions:
Oct. 17: Pitch Competition (Each of the participants will present a five-minute pitch of their business and growth plan.)
Nov. 7:  Graduation ceremony and grant award distribution

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.

Catapult Fund logo by Tom Varisco Designs

Links & Downloads:

2018 Catapult Fund Guidelines PDF

Sample P&L
Example of a standard Profit & Loss statement

Profit & Loss Worksheet
Use this Excel form to create a P&L statement

Profit & Loss Worksheet
A slightly simpler form to create a P&L statement


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