Jazz & Heritage Foundation To Catapult Small Food Businesses To Bigger Culinary Stage

         Be honest. Do you go to Jazz Fest for the music or the food?

         Steely Dan vs. Gallagher’s Grill’s Seafood Mirliton Casserole?

         Pearl Jam vs. Panaroma Foods’ Crawfish Bread?

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         Red Hot Chili Peppers vs. Ms. Linda’s YaKa Mein?

         Van Morrison vs. WWOZ’ Mango Freeze?

         If you had to think about it, you’re probably going for the food.

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         The Jazz & Heritage Foundation, the nonprofit owner of the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival presented by Shell, is putting its money on the latter as well by partnering with Capital One Bank's Community Development Department, The Louisiana Cultural Economy Foundation, The Louisiana Small Business Development Center and The Ashé Cultural Arts Center to provide small business owners in the food industry with training and grant funding.

         The 2016 Catapult Fund, aimed this year to support entrepreneurs in the culinary arts encouraging innovation and sustainability, is now accepting applications through Friday, May 27, 2016.

          “The Jazz & Heritage Foundation has over the years provided millions of dollars in grant funding to nonprofits and education programs through our Community Partnership Grants,” said Jazz & Heritage Foundation Executive Director Don Marshall. “With the explosion of entrepreneurship in our region, we also want to support those businesses working in the arts that are contributing to the development of a sustainable cultural industry.

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         “The Catapult Fund is an example of how we're continuing to find ways to support our community with innovative new programs. We wanted to distinguish ourselves from other entrepreneurship assistance programs by reaching deep into the grass-roots community, and making sure everyone knows about this opportunity.”

         To be eligible to apply, applicants must have small Louisiana-based businesses in the food industry. The Fund is open to restaurants, chefs, caterers, food trucks, food product manufacturers, cooking schools and others filling a niche in their local markets.

         The Catapult Fund provides a 4-month, 16-session business course including:


• Developing a business growth plan

• Developing a business pitch

• Finance, credit and managing debt

• Insurance and risk management

• Business structures (LLC, C-Corp, sub-S Corp, partnerships, etc.)

• Accounting and record keeping

• Cash flow and budgeting

• Sales, marketing and customer service

• Marketing and social media

• Human resources

• Food safety and health

• Customer development and retention

• Menu development

• Local and organic food sourcing

• Healthy food options (vegan, gluten-free, etc.)

• Food sales in an outdoor festival environment


         As part of the training course, participants will learn to write a business plan that can be used to secure funding from banks or other sources of capital investment and how to make a successful “pitch” to potential funders.

         Participants will be paired with experienced professionals who will serve as mentors during the training program and for a year afterward, and all participants will be required to open a free Capital One business savings account and will be tasked with saving money during the Catapult training.

         Participants will also receive intensive training in safe food handling and will take the 8-hour ServSafe certification exam.

         Those who successfully complete all aspects of the Catapult Fund training program will be awarded cash grants from a pool totaling $75,000.

         The Catapult Fund is open to small businesses in the culinary arts in Louisiana including LLCs, sole-proprietorships and incorporated businesses. Startups are welcome, as are seasoned businesses.

         Eligibility requirements include:


• You have a small business in the culinary arts in Louisiana

• Your business has gross annual revenues of less than $500,000

• You need training in best business practices

• You want to learn how to write a business growth plan

• You need access to funding

• You are willing to commit to attending (in person) a 16-session training program over a 4-month period in New Orleans

• You can supply a valid tax identification number (SSN or EIN)

• Businesses that are not yet registered with the State of Louisiana, do not have occupational licenses, do not have Profit & Loss statements or cannot provide a current tax return/ schedule C are welcome to apply

• Nonprofits and individuals (other than sole-proprietorships) are not eligible

• Religious organizations, government entities and businesses with outstanding state or federal tax obligations also are not eligible to apply


         View all application guidelines here


         The Jazz & Heritage Foundation will host several workshops to provide assistance with the online application process. The Ashé Cultural Arts Center will serve as a “drop in” center for those seeking individual assistance with the application or access to computers.

         After the applications are reviewed, and up to 12 business owner participants selected, courses will begin on June 29 and will continue through October 26. Courses will be taught on Wednesday afternoons, from 1:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., at the George and Joyce Wein Jazz & Heritage Center, 1225 N. Rampart St., in New Orleans. Participants must be able to attend in person.

         Following completion of the training course, participants will present a 5-minute pitch of their business plan and will be awarded grant funding if they completed:


• 90% of all training sessions (50 of the 56 hours)

• 8 hours of ServSafe training and passed the final exam

• A business growth plan (the business growth plan is to be turned in to the program manager by the assigned due date)

• Minimum of 4 mentoring sessions with a business mentor that will be assigned during the training program

• Opening of a free Capital One business savings account by the due date

• Presentation of a business pitch


         The Jazz & Heritage Foundation uses the proceeds from Jazz Fest, and other raised funds, for year-round programs in education, economic development and cultural enrichment.

         For more information




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