September 24, 2021

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Grants awarded in Upstart Cocoa program

COCOA, Fla. — As organizations function to get well from the impression of the pandemic, the city of Cocoa is investing in a pair of little enterprises that will also be offering back again to the local community.

The initial two companies for the Upstart Cocoa Minority and Tiny Business enterprise Software were being chosen by the city and the Diamond Sq. Redevelopment Board.


What You Will need To Know

  • Upstart Cocoa awards its initially two $10,000 grants
  • Organizations decided on will go through small business mentorship software
  • Grant recipients will also require to reinvest in the group

Mike Blackwell reported he and his spouse and children were “elated” when they discovered that their new organization, Chef’s Kitchen, would be receiving a $10,000 grant awarded by the city.

“Not to toot my possess horn, but everyone enjoys the foods, everyone enjoys my cooking,” Blackwell said Monday about obtaining the grant. “So, it was a excellent factor.”

Blackwell stated his enthusiasm for cooking goes back to when he was a child and learned from his mother and grandmother.

“I generally wanted to learn how to prepare dinner — relished cooking, beloved cooking and watching the cooking channel when I was a kid, crafting down all the recipes and ingredients and begging my mother to go to the retail outlet and get them so I can learn how to do sure things,” Blackwell mentioned.

Earlier this calendar year, Blackwell acquired the China Dragon restaurant on Clearlake Highway and claimed he would like to make Chef’s Kitchen area into a fusion of both soul food and Asian delicacies. 

So far, $2,500 of the $10,000 has been awarded, which will go toward a enterprise mentorship for Chef’s Kitchen area through weVENTURE. Samantha Senger, a spokeswoman for the town of Cocoa, explained participation in that program is a core tenant of the Upstart Cocoa initiative to make certain corporations are successful.

“Once they comprehensive that software with weVENTURE, then they can occur back to (the metropolis) council and request the remainder, $7,500 of the grant, can be asked for for the Upstart program,” Senger stated. 

Section of acquiring the grant is giving again to the community making use of element of the grant funds. Blackwell claimed section of his prepare will be to teach the community on the heritage of cooking in the Black community, heading back again to the start out of founding of the country. 

He also desires to provide as a cooking mentor for kids and adults who want to find out extra about cooking soul food. 

“We want to instruct, we want to share, we want to get the complete community associated, particularly the Toddler Boomers. All those are the types who always go out to eat,” Blackwell claimed.

Diamond Square expense

The other $10,000 grant was awarded by the Diamond Sq. Redevelopment Board. A single of the necessities for this recipient was that they had to both build or expand their business enterprise within the historic Diamond Square neighborhood.

Purvette Bryant was picked out for this grant. She started out Strategic Capital Consulting Inc. as a home-based business and mentioned she was psyched to broaden into a new creating place.

“Up and down Magnolia Street, this is now Stone Street, we experienced Black firms when I was rising up in this article close by and we want to carry that back again to the town of Cocoa,” Bryant stated.

Portion of her business’s grant will go toward refurbishing and remodeling the building at 373 Stone Street, so that not only her enterprise, but some others far too, can make use of that area.

“It was likely to be demolished, but my spouse and children and I were being ready to help save it from demolition and we want it to thrive and turn it into one thing seriously very good for the community,” Bryant said.

In picking Bryant’s company for the grant, Tracy Moore, the chairman of the Diamond Square Redevelopment Board, explained acquiring anyone who grew up in the neighborhood was a large additionally for them.

“(Bryant) has a broad knowledge of the neighborhood, neighborhood and important connectivity to improve a profitable company,” Moore said. “The business is centrally located in an now hectic corridor, has the edge of ‘boots on the ground’ to serve as a catalyst for other organization chances in Diamond Sq..”

Bryant said she hopes to have the get the job done required on the constructing completed for her to move in all through the month of November, and claimed by the stop of the 12 months they will be open for enterprise.