Commission for the Blind, Chapter 585
Rule Caption: Financial Support for Funding Business Ventures.
Adm. Order No.: CFTB 1-2012
Filed with Sec. of State: 8-9-2012
Certified to be Effective: 8-9-12
Notice Publication Date: 6-1-2012
Rules Amended: 585-010-0310
Subject: Division 10: Business Policy — Updates language to reflect current practice.
Rules Coordinator: Linda Mock—(971) 673-1588
(l) What This Rule Does. This rule establishes the conditions under which financial support for funding business ventures will be provided by the Commission for the Blind. Clients who are entering into the Business Enterprise Program do not meet the federal definition of self-employment under the Rehabilitation Act and are not subject to the requirements of this rule.
(2) Statutory Authority. This rule is authorized by ORS l83.34l and ORS 346.l50.
(3) Definitions. The following definitions apply to this rule:
(a) “Agency” means the Commission for the Blind;
(b) “IPE” means Individualized Plan for Employment;
(c) “SBA” means the U. S. Small Business Administration;
(d) “SSA” means the U. S. Social Security Administration;
(e) “Counselor” means the client’s assigned Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor who is a staff member of the Agency.
(4) Effective Date. This rule is effective upon publication for clients requesting assistance in becoming involved in a business venture.
(5) Basic Criteria:
(a) Intent to establish or run a business is to help an individual become financially independent. Agency involvement will be available to establish or run a business that can reasonably be expected to provide income to the client commensurate with the individual’s strengths, abilities, capabilities and interests. The agency will not fund “hobby” businesses;
(b) If a client is involved with a business partnership or corporation, s/he must present written evidence of being the controlling partner or controlling shareholder of the corporation. Provision must be made in the Partnership Agreement for the client to settle all debts should the business not succeed. The agency will assume no financial liability for debts;
(c) Speculative or high-risk business ventures will not be considered. These include those which present a risk beyond the control of the business owner or those which are so subject to economic whims as to have an unpredictable future;
(d) The client must present documentary evidence to indicate that a reasonable effort has been made to obtain comparable benefits, when available. If financial support from another source(s) is identified to fund the business in part or in whole, a request to obtain financial support from that source(s) should be made before requesting agency assistance. If the request was denied because of an insufficient business plan, the client must revise the plan and resubmit it to the funding source. When no comparable benefits and services are available, the agency may fund reasonable and necessary start-up costs for a business as part of a client’s Individualized Plan for Employment. In order for a plan to be viable, other funding sources may be necessary to cover costs identified in the business plan that would not be covered by the agency;
(e) Where partial support is obtained elsewhere, the client must submit copies of the relevant documentation to identify the extent of that financial assistance;
(f) Where denial of financial support outside this agency is based on the availability of personal or family resources, the client will be expected to utilize those resources before requesting agency funding support;
(g) The client may seek assistance in developing a business plan from outside sources such as the Small Business Administration or the Small Business Development Centers at community colleges.
(6) Comprehensive Assessment:
(a) Financial support will be provided to a client to become involved in a business only after the client has satisfied a comprehensive assessment. As a part of this, the agency is prepared to provide or arrange for an assessment by agency staff or competent business persons outside the agency to assess the business skills, background, and potential of the client seeking financial assistance. Portions of the assessment may be conducted by business persons such as a representative of the Oregon Small Business Development Center;
(b) The comprehensive assessment will cover the following:
(A) Evaluation of previous work experience, especially in the same or a similar industry to the proposed business or in other self-employment;
(B) Understanding of other career options and availability of jobs in the present and future job market;
(C) Communications skills necessary in the proposed business (written and verbal skills, along with capability to maintain and interpret financial records for the business);
(D) Factors such as willingness to make personal financial investment in the business, ability to make appropriate decisions, dependability, follow-through, organizational ability, adequate travel skills as demonstrated by interaction with agency personnel and former business colleagues;
(E) Alternative skills of blindness adequate to function in the business; knowledge of technology, adaptive technology and software applications currently being used in the management of similar businesses;
(F) Demonstration of money/resource management skills consistent with running a viable small business.
(G) Background or training in financial management skills required for managing a self-owned business.
(7) Comprehensive Business Plan:
(a) The client must prepare a well-researched and written comprehensive business plan such as that required by a bank or the Small Business Administration.
(b) The plan must include an itemized list of equipment or business-related expenses, which the client requests the agency to provide. The client must make a formal presentation of the plan to the agency. If the plan is accepted, the decisions made will lead to the development or amendment of the IPE. Any agency support must be a part of an agreed upon IPE.
(c) If the total request for financial assistance and technical assistance is less than $3,500 the counselor may not require a formal business plan. However, in providing assistance less than $3,500, there still should be sufficient evidence that the business is viable.
(d) Requests for an existing business, which exclusively involve adaptive equipment, may require documentation of the viability of the business rather than a formal business plan.
(8) Training. Where assessment results indicate that a client lacks some of the skills necessary for successful business management, the agency may make available and require training in those specific skill areas, especially the alternative skills dealing with blindness and financial management skills.
(9) Availability of Funds:
(a) Financial support for any service provided under an IPE is contingent upon the availability of funds to the agency;
(b) Financial assistance should not place a burden on agency resources to the extent that the agency would be unable to provide services to other clients.
(10) Financial Support:
(a) Client will provide timely financial statements and other documentation as requested by the Commission showing progress toward becoming self-sufficient.
(b) Agency support is designed to assist in the initial startup of a business; it is not to be considered an on-going resource, and in no case will losses be reimbursed by the agency;
(c) The client and Counselor will jointly determine the limits of agency financial involvement and time limits. Development of a comprehensive business plan is expected to adequately capitalize the business and limit the need for ongoing financial support by the agency.
(a) Any equipment for the business must be purchased in accordance with agency policy; i.e., preauthorized, with appropriate bids, where necessary, obtained by the client;
(b) Under the criteria in ORS 346.2l0, ownership of equipment may be transferred to the client. The Counselor will determine appropriateness of this action. Regardless of ownership, the client is responsible for adequately maintaining the equipment;
(c) Any equipment whose title is not passed to the client will be returned to the agency when it is no longer required for the purpose for which it was procured.
Stat. Auth.: ORS
l83 & 346
Stats. Implemented: ORS 346.150
Hist: 2BC 1-1985, f. & ef. 1-31-85; CFTB 3-1999, f. & cert. ef. 7-8-99; CFTB 1-2004, f. & cert. ef. 10-8-04; CFTB 1-2005, f. & cert. ef. 2-11-05; CFTB 1-2009, f. & cert. ef. 4-13-09; CFTB 1-2012, f. & cert. ef. 8-9-12