Main Street USA Foundation’s mission is to provide small business with the support necessary to soar, while at the same time helping them to identify positions that can be filled by young people with challenges. Our two main programs are the Main Street Initiative Program and the Seedlings Transitions Program.
The Scarlett Foundation is pleased to announce that the City of Rahway has provided the facilities for the launch of our new “Seedlings” program – growing gardens and work skills.
Main Street Initiative:
With over 50 percent of small businesses failing in the first five years, starting a business can be a risky proposition. All too often, someone gets a bright idea, they have a passion for it and they start a business—and find that it is harder than it looks!
Sure, they can find a place, fix it up, make it look nice, stock it with great things (or make great things!) only to find that no one comes in to buy. All too often they forget that it’s not a case of ‘build it and they will come’. They need to determine if there is an audience for what they have to offer (market research) and then they need to find a way to communicate to that audience on how to find them (marketing).
However, by the time they have set up in business the money is usually tight and they say “I’ll spend some marketing dollars once business picks up.” Well, this is the age old catch 22—you need money to market and you need to market to get money!
This is where Main Street USA Foundation will come in with their Main Street initiative. The Foundation will be offering grants to cover half of a business’s marketing expenses (up to 4% of revenue).
However, there is a catch—they will be asked to participate in a program where they will be guided in terms of how best to spend the money for the best result, and they will be required to have the ‘business basics’ of a business plan, a marketing plan and a good bookkeeper!
The Foundation will also be offering a program for business start-ups, providing guidance from the beginning in terms of market research (is there really a market for what you have to offer?) type of business entity (should you be an LLC, an Inc. etc.) and assistance finding venture capital to fund the start-up (the power of OPM!)
The Scarlett Foundation is set to provide the resources and support necessary to really ‘move the needle’ when it comes to business success. Collectively, we can improve on 50 percent!
Seedlings Transitions Program:
The Seedlings Program was established to accomplish two goals: help the environment by establishing ‘teaching’ gardens, and help young people with disabilities become ‘work ready’.
There are three phases to the program. The First Phase is the two part Growing Program, which is a 4 month after school program that operates 4 days per week from 3 to 6 pm. This program will show participants how to set up a community garden, grow seedlings and plant them.
The second half of The Growing Program will be showing each participant how they can ‘grow’ their work readiness skills through classroom seminars such as “Discover Your Passion”, “Dress for Success” and “How to Deal with Difficult People.” They will also be introduced to visiting professionals who will give the young people a ‘look behind the curtain’ of how their business operates.
Phase Two of the Seedling Program will be the ‘Farm to Table’ Summer camp held over 6 weeks in July and August. Students will take the produce from the garden and they will learn how to cook it and present it, guided by chefs from local restaurants. They will learn about nutrition and how to buy food for personal consumption, and then progress to learning about all aspects of how to prepare food in a commercial setting. They will then move on to learning all about every aspect of how a restaurant is run, and how to do every job in a restaurant.
Phase Three is ‘Welcome to the World of Work’ internship program. Every student who has shown an aptitude for a particular job in a restaurant will be placed in an internship. If the internship is successful, the hope is that it will turn into a paid position.