May 13, 2016 01:02 PM

Illustration based on photo by Eric Nyenhuis/Wikimedia
Through a partnership announced last fall with ASI Federal Credit Union, Capital One, the Foundation for Louisiana and the Louisiana Small Business Development Center, the LCEF is offering low-interest loans to individual artists and to small cultural businesses in the seven-parish Acadiana region (and Greater New Orleans). Successful applicants can access loans up to $10,000 at an average 8 percent interest rate (with some as low as 4 percent) for three-year loans to help launch and/or finish creative projects.

Applicants will work with the Louisiana Small Business Development Center to tailer technical assistance plans that fit their unique projects; applicants are required to complete a 12-hour training course within the first 18 months of the loan period, after which the interest rate on the loan plummets to 2 percent. The initiative, according to LCEF CEO Aimee Smallwood, is an effort to help artists avoid high-interest credit cards and “payday” loans for sustaining their livelihoods. “This partnership is an unprecedented effort to recognize and help fulfill some of the needs we’ve identified in the creative entrepreneurial community,” Smallwood adds.

For individual applicants:

● Must be a creator within the cultural industries.
● Must be able to demonstrate that they have a track record of receiving compensation for their work in a way that constitutes at least 25% of their annual income.
● May either have a “big idea” that will increase their income or have a specific need for supplies, training, equipment or special assistance that will increase their ability to earn income from their work.
● Must have a written work plan that is reasonable and achievable.
● Must agree to quarterly reporting.

For cultural businesses:

● Must operate within the cultural industries.
● Must have been registered with the Secretary of State’s office for at least one year.
● Must have gross business income of less than $500,000.
● Must be able to either provide tax returns or financial statements to demonstrate income for the past two years and projections for the coming year.
● Must have a written plan that is reasonable and achievable, with an eye toward scalability.
● Must agree to quarterly reporting.

Click here to find out more and to apply.


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