ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITY FUND GUIDELINES
Purpose: The purpose of the Economic Opportunity Fund is to address underemployment of County residents by assisting County businesses in providing higher wage permanent jobs.
1) Minimum Requirements for Consideration
a) Business Plan and/or Strategic Plan: Every applicant should submit a business plan and/or strategic plan, to demonstrate the planning and research conducted regarding the project and to provide a basis to evaluate the proposal against the evaluation criteria. This should include a financial plan for a minimum of five years that demonstrates the project is economically viable. Assumptions with respect to anticipated revenues and expenses should be supported with data and/or letters of commitment. This plan should include a project schedule identifying milestones, cash flow and time sensitivity for success.
b) Qualifications: The applicant needs to demonstrate his or her qualifications and experience in following through on the proposed project.
2) Evaluation Criteria
a) High-wage jobs (20pts): An important goal of the Albemarle County Strategic Plan is to increase the ability of those individuals and families, who are living in lower income households, to become self-sufficient. Eligible projects should increase the number of jobs, especially higher-wage jobs. The County has several important higher-wage industry clusters, such as health care, bio-technology, and information technology. Additionally, construction and manufacturing skills are highly valued in this community. Preferred projects add jobs in these industry sectors.
b) Local Workforce Development (20pts): Eligible projects should provide work-force training, and recruit local residents to fill vacant positions.
c) Matching Funds (20 pts): This fund was capitalized on a one-time basis for a maximum amount of $250,000. To maximize the fund’s impact, projects are considered more highly if demonstrating the success of the project is tied to other supporting financial resources. This fund is considered a source of funding for closing what might be a gap in commercial lending, venture capital or non-profit grants. Though not a strict requirement, preferred projects should require from the Fund less than 20% of total project cost, in keeping with the goal of providing “gap” funding. Preferred projects will include federal or state funding, also tied to local employment opportunity, such as the Governor’s Opportunity Fund or UVA research projects.
d) Tangible Benefits to the Community (20 pts): Each applicant is expected to demonstrate how their project will provide measureable and tangible benefit to the community. In order to satisfy this criteria, an applicant must address each of the following elements:
i) Capital Investment: Like workforce development, project applications need to specify and quantify expected capital investment (land purchase, building development, machinery, tools and equipment
ii) Estimated Economic Value/Return on Investment: The applicant is encouraged to furnish data on revenues the County is anticipated to see with this project. This can include property taxes, machinery and equipment taxes, and sales taxes.
e) County Goals and Objectives (20 pts): The County Comprehensive Plan and the County’s Strategic plan can be accessed online at the following address, www.ablemarle.org. A project will receive more favorable consideration where the project ties to specific goals and objectives of either plan.
3) Conditions for Receipt of Funds
a) All proposals must receive a total score of no less than 75 points to be considered for funding.
b) Approved projects will be subject to a performance agreement which will require commitments in the following areas, at a minimum:
i) Total job created for local residents
ii) Wage level for job created
iii) Capital investment
iv) Matching funds
c) Approved project will be required to provide some form of surety acceptable to the County Attorney guaranteeing the County’s investment is refunded if agreed upon performance criteria are not met.
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