The Community Business Launch (CBL) is a place-based entrepreneurial development strategy that fills a critical mass of vacant storefronts with expansion or start-up ventures. Local CBL programs train entrepreneurs, creatives, and small business owners about business planning practices. This training culminates in a group of finalists pitching their ideas to a panel of judges, with winners receiving grant funding and support services from the community to kick-start their new venture.
While only a limited number of entrepreneurs may win the business competitions, the CBL gives rise to many budding entrepreneurs that have been prepared through the CBL grant to create or expand successful businesses.
A CBL program generates excitement while educating the community business opportunities for local people. A CBL grant from DHCD leverages other financial and in-kind resources to prepare multiple entrepreneurs to operate successful businesses, whether they win or lose the pitch competition. Additionally, many CBL grantees replicate the CBL strategy repeatedly without DHCD resources to amplify job and business creation. When preceded by thorough market analysis and relentless outreach, then followed by ongoing business retention efforts, a CBL program is a key building block in a coordinated, comprehensive, and sustainable entrepreneurial eco-system of community-based entrepreneurs and small businesses at all stages of life.