Wooster Opportunity Loan Fund brings hope for entrepreneurs
The Wooster Opportunity Loan Fund, developed in 2010, is available to entrepreneurs working to start a business.
The WOLF, as it has come to be known, is a hyper-local source of funding that supports young technology companies located in, or willing to move to, Wayne County, according to a submission by the Orrville Area Chamber of Commerce entitled “Wooster Opportunity Loan Fund Announces New Application Round.”
Jonathan Millea, Development Coordinator for the City of Wooster, is involved with the WOLF and can see the direct benefits of the program in Wayne County.
“WOLF has already funded a handful of new companies in Wooster. Manuscript Tracker and also Team Inn are two WOLF recipients who have brought new technologies to the marketplace. The more technology firms grow, the better the opportunity of creating new, quality and high-paying jobs in town,” Millea said.
Millea is proud to be a part of a program supporting entrepreneurs’ bright ideas.
“Most of us spend most of our lives planning to work for companies or organizations, but what if we thought more about starting our own businesses? Every building we see, every restaurant we go to, and every store we visit, was created from someone’s idea. Most business owners started with little more than an idea, building a small business with the skills they learn along the way,” Millea said.
Steven F. Huszai, staff writer for The Daily Record, wrote a Nov. 28, 2012 article on the WOLF: “Wooster Opportunities Loan Fund expanding county-wide.”
“Every building we see, every restaurant we go to, and every store we visit, was created from someone’s idea,” Millea said.
According to Huszai, the initial roll-out for the WOLF was $200,000 divided out to applicants up to $35,000 at a time.
Akron-based Cascade Capital, a corporation that seeks to provide capital for start-ups, is primed to add another $100,000 to the fund for start-ups across Wayne County.
According to Justin Starlin, economic development administrator, Wooster project funding will come from the WOLF. Organizations outside of Wooster will receive funds from the Cascade.
Similar programs for up-and-coming entrepreneurs are recommended by Millea.
The Senior Corp of Retired Executives is a business mentoring and education organization serving Wayne County. More information can be found at akron.score.org.
The Small Business Development Center is a state-funded program to assist small businesses as they start-up or seek to expand. More information can be found at cantonsbdc.org.
The Economic and Community Development Institute is a non-profit economic development organization focused on filling financing gaps for small businesses. More information can be found online at edci.org.
Entrepreneurs can apply online through jumpstartnetwork.org/apply. However, WOLF coordinators recommend that applicants first contact Wooster Growth through the City of Wooster at (330)263–5250.