NASE Awards $95,243 In Business Development Grants


NASE Awards $95,243 In Business Development Grants

20 NASE Members Get Funding For Their Micro-Businesses

Last year, the NASE awarded Business Development Grants to 20 members who put the money to work buying equipment, upgrading their offices with technology, launching new websites and more.

"With small-business loans drying up, the money provided by the NASE Business Development Grants has become even more important for our members," says Robert Hughes, president of the NASE.

"We continue to push for legislation and funding that would increase small-business lending. But until that money starts flowing again, these grants provide immediate working capital for our members."

The NASE has awarded more than $400,000 to member businesses since the grant program began in 2006.

Here's a look at how a few NASE Members benefited from their grants in 2009.

Twist Of Fate
Theresa Cassiday
NASE Member since 2008
Business name: Catena Creations LLC
Location: Bellevue, Neb.
Number of years in business: 2

After Cassiday was laid off for the second time in seven months, she says she decided to “take my fate into my own hands instead of leaving it up to other people. I wanted to provide my own stability and I liked working at home so I can be available for my 14-year-old son.”

Her solution was to start Catena Creations, an integrated marketing firm that provides Web and print design, photography, written proposals and other services.

Like many business owners in an uncertain economic climate, Cassiday says her biggest challenge is “managing cash flow; knowing when to invest and when to hold back.”

The NASE grant helped her meet that challenge. Cassiday used the grant money to invest in a laptop computer, video camera and wireless equipment.

“People expect me to have this kind of technology,” Cassiday says. “When you show up with it, it really gives you credibility and makes you look professional. And having this video camera gives me another way to earn money and expand my business.”

But it isn’t just the equipment that will help Cassiday grow her business. The fact that she applied for and received the NASE grant will give her a marketing edge, too.

“Part of my work is grant writing and proposal writing. When people see that I did this for myself, they’re going to know I’m successful and can do it for them.”

Freeze Frame
Jonathan C. Beck
NASE Member since 2004
Business name: JBS Multimedia
Location: Huntington Beach, Calif.
Number of years in business: 11

Beck captures important moments by shooting photographs of corporate, celebrity and motor sport events. He also offers fine art wedding photos to couples on their special day.

But like so many other industries, the photography sector took a hit during the economic slump. To counter that, Beck began looking for a niche market that would give him an edge over his competitors.

The NASE grant helped him find his niche.

“The grant money allows me to differentiate what I do from other photographers,” Beck says.

With the grant money, Beck was able to purchase a film scanner, a new computer for his studio and other camera gear.

“The addition of the new equipment from the grant allowed more use of older cameras that produce higher quality and more artistic prints,” Beck says. “The new equipment allows me to create media that few, if anyone else is doing.”

Beck’s using his new equipment in every area of his business—commercial, weddings and portraiture.

“There are many photographers out there, and everyone is using digital, so it’s a lot of the same thing,” Beck explains. “With the scanner from the grant, I’m shooting medium format. It’s higher quality than what you can get from most professional digital cameras. This capability is something of a lost art and is creating a bit of a niche market.”

Saddle Up
Steven K. Huffman
NASE Member since 2005
Business name: Steve Huffman Training Stables
Location: Nampa, Idaho
Number of years in business: 20

Steven Huffman knows horses. He’s worked around horses since 1970 and has gone from being a wrangler at a dude ranch to running his own horse training business.

But in all those years, he’s never rounded up an opportunity quite as good as the NASE Business Development Grant.

“I can’t say enough about the grant program. For us just to be able to apply and have a chance at this is amazing. What other organizations do you belong to that even offer such an opportunity?”

Huffman says the NASE grant “allowed us to do things we’ve never been able to do before. It made us mobile.”

The grant money helped Huffman purchase a three-horse trailer for hauling. Being able to easily transport the horses means he can take them to more shows or move them to different locations for trail rides.

He also used the funds to pay for putting his business logo on the side of the trailer. So, not only is his business more mobile now, but his marketing message is mobile, too.

“The grant has really done wonders for us,” Huffman says.

The Online Environment
Zane Homesley
NASE Member since 2005
Business name: Goshawk Environmental Consulting Inc.
Location: Austin, Texas
Number of years in business: 5

Homesley makes his living in the physical world as an environmental consultant. But the success of his business could depend on the online world.

His consulting services include threatened and endangered species assessments, wetland determination, storm water pollution prevention plans and more. To reach private and public clients around the country, Homesley is finding that the Web is the way to go.

Although he launched a website for his business years ago, the site had grown stale and out of date. Thanks to the NASE grant, Homesley’s Web presence is now fresh and up to date.

Homesley used the grant funds to pay not only for the development of a new site by a Web designer, but also the ongoing maintenance of his site and search engine optimization.

The result?

“My website is professional looking. I’ve received lots of positive feedback from current clients and potential clients. I think it will be very beneficial to me in the long run.

“Now that the information on the website is up to date, I think my current clients will find it a resource that they can utilize, and it will ultimately drive them back to me for more business. The bigger picture is that my website is coming up on search engines, and I have a better looking website. I think it will drive more clients in my direction.”

More Grant Recipients

In 2009, the NASE also awarded Business Development Grants to these NASE Members across the country. Read some of their stories at Enter the Quick Link "Grants."

Gwen and James Arrigon
Beckett Run Inc.
Hamilton, Ohio

Aaron Degler
Degler Design Inc.
Saint Charles, Ill.

Elizabeth and Scott Dupre
The Pagoda Vent Company
Kittery Point, Maine

Robby Gerken
Erie Recycling Services LLC
Antwerp, Ohio

Lily Hay
Aglow Marketing LLC
Indianapolis, Ind.

Carl Leonard
Fogles Asphalt Sealing
Walkersville, Md.

Scott and Karen Logan
The Blue Mermaid Island Grill
Portsmouth, N.H.

Tyler Madsen
Born Again Homes
Ellis, Idaho

Gaylene Mann
Curves of Dallas
Dallas, Ore.

Mary Miles
MG Accounting and Tax Service LLC
Alpharetta, Ga.

Janna Piper
Janna Piper Housesitting
Portland, Ore.

Lesley Rackowski
Pillowcasegram & Other Things LLC
Westfield, N.Y.

Nancy Ritchie
Cranial Tap, Inc.
Sterling, Va.

Doug Springer
Springers Gymnastics Center LLC
Ellsworth, Maine

Susan Steele
Artistic Touch Studio
Gilbert, S.C.

Elizabeth Stultz
Elizabeth Stultz Photography
Windham, Maine

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