Am I eligible to apply for an UpStart Cocoa Forgivable Loan?

The following are the eligibility requirements for the UpStart Cocoa program:

  • Minority-Owned Business means any small business which is organized to engage in commercial transactions and which is at least 51% owned by minority persons. Persons of minority include African Americans, Hispanic Americans, Asian Americans, Native Americans, and American women.
  • New minority-owned start-up businesses (3 years or less) and any minority-owned business looking to relocate into the City of Cocoa with 10 employees or less.
  • All applicants must be willing to participate in and complete the 24-week business education and mentorship program offered through weVENTURE.
  • Any eating and drinking establishments may be eligible for funding as long as the business derives at least 51% of its gross revenue from the sale of food and/or non-alcoholic drink for consumption on the premises, whether or not the food is cooked on the premises. This may include restaurants, mobile vending, and refreshment stands selling prepared foods for immediate consumption. All applicants who will utilize a mobile vending model will need to commit to required hours/percentage of sales/other in the City of Cocoa area.
  • The types of businesses that are not eligible for funding under this Program include: social service providers, non-profit agencies, gun shops, agricultural services, liquor stores, medical marijuana and CBD shops, shops that sell drug paraphernalia, pawn shops, bail bond services, tattoo/body piercing parlors, check cashing facilities, adult entertainment facilities, thrift shops, nightclubs and bars, and any business or service deemed illegal.
  • The applicant shall not be eligible for the Upstart Cocoa Program if he/she has received Upstart Cocoa Funding, or other business assistance funding from the CRA or the City of Cocoa within the last three years from the date of the current submittal, except for façade improvement programs.
  • For start-up businesses, the minority entrepreneur is required to invest at least 10% of startup costs from non-UpStart Cocoa Program related funding sources.

Show All Answers

1. What is UpStart Cocoa?
2. Am I eligible to apply for an UpStart Cocoa Forgivable Loan?
3. What is the community enrichment requirement of the program?
4. How will the funds be provided to the chosen business?
5. What is the purpose of the weVENTURE portion of the program?
6. Who is on the UpStart Cocoa and UpStart Diamond Square review committees?
7. How will applications be reviewed?
8. What factors will the review committee use for funding recommendations?
9. What are the conditions of the loan agreement once funding recommendations have been made to City Council?
10. How do I get reimbursed for eligible expenses?
11. What happens if I do not comply with the terms of the loan agreement?