Grant Money for Local Small Businesses

More than half of all Americans either own, or work for, a small business.

And most new jobs in the U.S. are in small businesses.

This afternoon, local philanthropists reached out to help Marquette County businesses grow and add jobs.

ZattaChat is the company behind the ZattaCard, a discount card for use at small, locally–owned marquette county businesses.

ZattaChat’s nonprofit arm, the Zatta Foundation, was matching local entrepreneurs with area investors, $100 at a time.

Zatta Foundation director Doug Russell says the idea behind what he calls ZattaImpact grants is that a few small donations can be used to make a big difference for a small business.

Heather Paananen of Superior Lighting recently started selling consignment furniture, something that almost no one else in the area does.

She’s looking for funding to advertise and promote that aspect of her business.

Paananen says just a few hundred dollars would be enough to accomplish what she’s trying to do.

Scott martin of needle and thread in ishpeming would like to buy $3,000 of new equipment so he can expand production.

Martin says while that may not sound like much to someone who owns a larger business, Needle & Thread is only a little more than a year old, and with its revenue, $3,000 is a significant amount.

Times are tough for small retailers of all kinds.

The owner of Marquette’s Lighthouse Christian Bookstore is trying to obtain operating capital to pay bills left over from the holidays.

Lois Forrester says Internet-based retailers and big-box retailers like Wal-Mart are putting the squeeze on her.

She says what the Zatta Foundation is doing is a blessing.

The assembled investors each had to spend $100.

They could give all $100 to one of the businesses or divide their money however they wished.

The three entrepreneurs left the luncheon with a total of $1,700 more in working capital than they’d had an hour earlier.

Russell says he wants to host further ZattaSocial luncheons every few months.

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