Small independent businesses are the backbone of resilient and stable communities.
Incentives are designed to inspire behavior and action. The City of Flagstaff Business Retention and Expansion (BR&E) Incentive intends to encourage small businesses in Flagstaff to stay and grow in Flagstaff; however, there is more to it. As we head into the final days for businesses to compete for up to $30,000 as the application window closes on August 31, this piece will provide more guidance about what that “more” actually is.
A quick review of the program and the scoring reveals what matters and how much.
The program implements a community value of having a diverse and stable economy. Small independent businesses are the backbone of resilient and stable communities. The BR&E Incentive is a competition open to almost all businesses in Flagstaff that have between one and 150 employees. Demonstrate through your application convincingly and soberly how you will grow your business using the BR&E Incentive funding and you may be awarded up to $30,000 to grow your business.
Thirty points are available for wages. Higher wages result from an individual growing their understanding of the world, managing their talents, and the expected productivity level as articulated in a job description. The median hourly wage in the Flagstaff Metropolitan Statistical Area (FLG-MSA), which is the whole of Coconino County, is $18.20. The higher the wages of the jobs a business creates, the higher the score.
Thirty points are available for environmental impact. Being good stewards of the resources of this planet is a community value. Doing so is an opportunity and duty for every citizen, individual, business and organization. If you can demonstrate in your application how your business treads lightly upon the earth with mindfulness about your processes, products and waste, your application will earn a higher score. Recycle. Minimize water and power usage. Contribute minimally to the landfill.
Ten points are available for the match. This is the “skin-in-the-game” element. It is important that you have your own funding dedicated to growing. Call it your capital budgeted for a growth project. The higher the dollar amount you have committed to growing your business relative to the requested amount, the higher your MATCH score.
DIRECT COMMUNITY BENEFIT
Thirty points are available for direct community benefit. This element is one of the more challenging ones for businesses to address. The question being asked is this: What do you give back to the community, or better yet, if you are awarded these public funds, how will it benefit the community? Before you respond, it is considered a fact that small businesses are the backbone of resilient communities and that running a business is risky indeed. When public funds are used as they are in this program, the community needs to receive something in return. Here is the guidance on how you ought to respond: think workforce. The lofty consideration is that every person has the chance to improve their own lives and the lives of those around them, grow in understanding, maturity, capacity and capability, then lead others to do the same. Think back to the wages element, which supports workforce development, too: the relationship between wages and skills/productivity matters. Growing people in their skill development is workforce development and a foundational value of all communities. The practical implementation of the lofty consideration is to recognize that every business owner, boss or supervisor has the chance to develop others into better community members and there are infinite ways to do that. Here is a brief list: internships, mentoring programs, apprenticeships, partnerships with educational facilities from kindergarten through career, training and upskilling opportunities in your industry. Demonstrate how you will advance your employees in their skill development and earning power by using the BR&E Incentive funds and you will receive a higher score in the Direct Community Benefit element.
If you are considering applying for the open and competitive Business Retention and Expansion Incentive, please think about how the funds will help your business grow and how you will make your employees more employable on account of your leadership. This program certainly aims to assist businesses to grow, and it is interested in enhancing the community. FBN
By John Saltonstall
Consider applying for the Business Retention and Expansion Incentive. If you have questions, please call City of Flagstaff Business Retention and Expansion Manager John Saltonstall at 928-606-9430.