Bank OZK supports Goodwill MicroEnterprise Graduate
Shannen Leahy, owner of The Caloosa Kitchen was the recipient of a Bank OZK grant for $1,000 to help her grow her new business. Shannen participated in the Goodwill MicroEnterprise program, a course designed to help individuals develop a plan to start or grow their business.
Bank OZK, a financial sponsor of the program, allowed Goodwill SWFL to allocate some of the funds to graduates to help them start or grow their business. Due to COVID, MicroEnterprise shifted format to an online version. Program Manager, Sandra Plaza, knew attending the virtual version of the program would be challenging, so she decided to offer a grant to the individual who produced the best feasibility plan (as voted by the facilitation team) as an incentive to the participants.
“Shannen was the hands down winner, developing a detailed plan including a well thought out cash flow projection,” says Plaza.
The Caloosa Kitchen is a microbakery specializing in artisan breads and sweets. Ms. Leahy is currently producing her products from her home, according to Florida cottage food guidelines. She is selling at Farmer’s Markets and other venues in Lee, Hendry/Glades and Palm Beach County and selling out in record time. Her business is still her “side job”, but her aspirations are to continue to grow the business and move into a storefront at some point.
“She will use the funds for equipment, which allows her to produce yummier treats and breads,” Plaza said. “You can follow Shannen on Facebook at The Caloosa Kitchen.”
The Southwest Florida MicroEnterprise Institute is a six-week program offered to aspiring entrepreneurs, and run by Goodwill Industries of Southwest Florida. Goodwill SWFL is a nonprofit organization committed to serving people with disabilities and disadvantages by providing life-changing opportunities toward independence. For more information about Goodwill SWFL, visit www.goodwillswfl.org.