WOOSTER, Ohio, Dec. 6, 2010 /PRNewswire/ -- The Wooster Opportunities Fund, a newly-launched loan fund supporting early-stage, high growth technology companies in Wooster, is accepting its first round of applications from entrepreneurs. The Fund, which was developed by the City of Wooster and Wooster Growth Corporation in collaboration with the JumpStart Entrepreneurial Network, awards loans of up to $35,000 to high-growth companies with high potential to raise venture capital money and create jobs in Wayne County.
Eligible companies must be located in or willing to relocate to the city of Wooster and be working with a member organization of the JumpStart Entrepreneurial Network, a connected group of Northeast Ohio entrepreneurial support organizations that spans 21 counties. Parameters of the loans include deferred payments and an interest rate of prime.
"The loans are meant to advance a specific project or initiative that will bring the company closer to securing a next round of pre-seed funding," explains Justin Starlin, Economic Development Administrator for the City of Wooster. "A company might use this money to further test their ideas and product and develop their business plan, preparing them for additional capital from a regional group like JumpStart Ventures or North Coast Angel Fund with more capital to invest."
The Fund will be accepting and evaluating applications on a continuous basis beginning today. Interested entrepreneurs with qualifying companies can apply at www.jumpstartnetwork.org. Once they submit an application, a member of the JumpStart Entrepreneurial Network will contact them about the next step in the review process.
"We're going to be really aggressive about continually reviewing applications and getting these funds into the hands of Wooster entrepreneurs," says Rodney Crider, President of the Wayne Economic Development Council. "The plan is to award four loans in 2011 and hopefully increase the number of loans we can issue over time."
The Wooster Opportunities Fund received funding from the Wooster Growth Corporation, the Wooster Community Hospital Foundation, and the Wooster Area Chamber of Commerce.
JumpStart Inc. is a nationally-recognized non-profit transforming the economic impact of entrepreneurial ventures and the ecosystems supporting their growth. For more information, visit www.jumpstartinc.org and follow @JumpStartInc on Twitter.
About Wooster Opportunities Fund
A hyper-local fund, the Wooster Opportunities Fund targets technology companies that are excellent candidates for future venture capital investment and possess high growth job creation potential. Approved companies must be located in or willing to relocate to the City of Wooster and will receive a payment-deferred, low interest loan to complete a specific initiative or project that is expected to make the company significantly more attractive to pre-seed investors.
About the JumpStart Entrepreneurial Network
The JumpStart Entrepreneurial Network is a group of Ohio Third Frontier-funded entrepreneurial support organizations putting Northeast Ohio entrepreneurs front and center. The Network gives entrepreneurs a place to start their search for support and provides them with the right resources they need at the right time to grow their businesses. Members of the Network include pre-seed and seed funds, incubators, and business advisors. The JumpStart Entrepreneurial Network is managed by JumpStart Inc., a non-profit organization transforming the economic impact of entrepreneurial ventures and the ecosystems supporting their growth.
About Ohio Third Frontier
Ohio Third Frontier is a technology-based initiative of the State of Ohio that is successfully changing the trajectory of the economy Ohio. It has contributed to Northeast Ohio's success through the programs it funds. But the impact of this program reaches beyond Northeast Ohio; Ohio is rapidly becoming a leader in the country, and the envy of many states, because of its vast system of entrepreneurial support programs and the resulting transformation underway.