Small business program helps entrepreneurs succeed

- Bay Area businesses are gearing up to earn your dollars on Small Business Saturday, and the community seems ready to show its support.

Some of the businesses you may shop this weekend have gone through a program designed to ensure they succeed from one holiday season to the next.

The program from the Tampa Bay Black Business Investment Corporation is called CATCH.

"Coachable, Action-oriented, Time-sensitive, Collaborative and Help," President of BBIC Albert Lee explained of the acronym. "And we chose those five things because we wanted entrepreneurs who were serious about moving their business along."

Participants pay a $100 fee for the 15 week program, which is refunded once they finish. And participants can get ongoing support for up to two years.

"At the end of the program there is a $2,500 stipend that you can use to help start your business," Lee said. "Make sure that they continue to get the nurturing that they need to continue to launch their business and get it off the ground." 

Jamara Forbes is one of those who have benefited from CATCH. She enjoys taking pictures so much, she decided to turn it into her business.

"The possibilities are endless with photography," Jamara said. "It's up to your creativity."

And she wanted endless possibilities with her career, so she decided to take advantage of CATCH. Jamara believes the program will help her keep her business goals in focus.

"I would recommend it to other up-and-coming entrepreneurs especially for those who may not have a foundation of business, and what it may take to be a business owner." 

For more information about the program, e-mail tscantling@tampabaybblc.com.

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