LAUNCH

SMALL BUSINESS FUNDING

Need capital to grow your business but unable to qualify for a bank loan?

The Launch Micro-Grant was created to help these entrepreneurs scale their business operations by providing access to capital to aid in the purchase of a business asset. Through funding and expertise, local financial institutions determine grant recipients by assessing a variety of factors through an application process and pitch competition.

STUDENT FUNDING

If you know a student that attends a local college or university, who is pursuing a business idea, the Student Launch Grant is a their chance to get $2,500 to take the next step.

In the past, students have recieved money toward things like patents and prototypes.

Jack Miller of Pock IT Pitching for funding at Launch Pitch Night

PITCH NIGHTS

GRANT RECIPIENTS

GIVEN BACK FROM GRANT RECIPIENTS

FUNDS AWARDED

Launch Pitch Night

THE ROAD TO 10K

1. Meet requirements and review the rules below

2. Submit application

3. If selected, attend pitch workshop

4. Pitch to judges at Launch pitch night for funding 

Adam Whelchel | Spark Bookkeeping

With a letter of intent in hand from a national membership based organization, Adam recieved funding for custom computer hardware for his growing team to work faster and more effieiently to onboard this new client. 

Jenn Smurr | Born and Bread

Jenn recieved funding to purchase a double convection oven that increased her capacity, and allowed her to continue to grow Born and Bread Bakehouse by eventually hiring more employees and expanding their retail space.

Wendy Kowalski | Caring Cradle

The original Caring Cradle gives families of stillborn babies more time to say goodbye, but Wendy began to see a demand for a smaller cradle for babies stillborn around 20 weeks. Their $10,000 microgrant will fund the injection mold to add a smaller bassinet to their product line. 

LAUNCH MICRO-GRANT FAQ’S

WHAT ARE THE RULES AND REQUIREMENTS FOR THIS GRANT?

You must meet the following requirements in order to obtain grant money:

  • Applicants must be 18 years or older.
  • Business must be between 6 months and 5 years old.
  • You must have sales and proof of concept.
  • Business must be located in Lakeland, Florida.
  • Business must have had less than $1,000,000 in sales the previous year.
  • Business must be a formed legal entity.
  • Applicants must not be eligible for traditional bank lending.
  • It must be a “new to Lakeland” concept (meaning that you provide something that is unique and not just another Starbucks or hair salon etc.).
  • The grant money must be used to scale business beyond solely increasing revenue (hiring employees, expanding space etc.).

If you have questions about whether you fit these requirements, email Christin Strawbridge at cstrawbridge@catapultlakeland.com

HOW MUCH MONEY CAN I APPLY TO WIN?

You can apply for any amount up to $10,000, but ultimately, the judges will decide on the amount awarded, if any.

WHAT CAN THE GRANT MONEY BE USED TO PURCHASE?

The purpose of this grant is to help Lakeland-based business owners purchase an asset that will directly lead to a growth in their business.

WHAT PURCHASES CANNOT BE MADE WITH THIS GRANT MONEY?

Launch micro-grant money cannot be used for the following:

  • Personal Items
  • Legal Fees
  • Hiring Staff
  • Purchasing Property
  • Items that require unsecured additional funding to complete the project
  • Projects related to: Real Estate, Accounting, Insurance
  • Nonprofits
  • Religiously-affiliated businesses
  • Businesses that do not have a Lakeland zip code. Other Polk County zip codes do not qualify (i.e. – Mulberry, Bartow, Auburndale, etc.).
  • Marketing
  • Inventory
DOES THIS MONEY NEED TO BE PAID BACK IN FULL?
  • No, this is a grant, not a loan.
  • However, if you receive a grant, we ask that you invest 25% of Launch’s initial investment back into the fund within 24 months.
  • Launch recipients will be invoiced monthly for the 25% give back portion 3 months following the use of the grant money.
  • Grantees will be required to give regular reports of what they have done with the money as well as the outcome of the investment.

SAVE THE DATE 

Application Deadline: Sunday, February 21, 2021

Pitch Night: Thursday, March 18, 2021

Show your support for  Lakeland’s startups by joining us in-person or online.

Investors