Proposed computer software business recommended for $6,900 in city money

By David Skolnick


A committee is recommending the city provide startup money to two potential businesses provided the owners receive private financing.

The Youngstown Initiative Committee urged the city Monday to give $6,900 to L.E.E.P. Software, located on the second floor of 26 N. Phelps St. The company plans to design and sell anti-hacker security computer software.

The software company’s business plan would cost $34,503 to implement.

The company would design, develop and sell security software to businesses to guard against hackers, said Nelse Dumas, its owner.

Dumas, who has no professional computer experience and is working as a laborer for an Austintown maintenance company, said he is “still developing the idea.”

Dumas must get private financing for the rest of the money to be eligible for the city funds.

Also, all loan applications under the initiative program must receive final approval from the city’s board of control.

Dumas proposes hiring 10 full-time workers during the first three years of operating the business.

Dumas started leasing space last month on the second floor of the Pig Iron Press.

The property was sold last week for $90,000 at an auction. But Jim Villani, who owns the building and owes $1,238 in back taxes, said he is considering exercising his right to redeem, which would nullify the sale if the delinquent taxes are paid. The Pig Iron Press is an independent publishing company Villani started 40 years ago.

Also Monday, the committee recommended $2,166 for the owner of Ms. Charlotte’s Resale Boutique, a proposed consignment clothing store for women at 3625 Market St.

The cost for the consignment store is $10,832 with the expectation of hiring four part-timers over the next three years.

The owners of both businesses said they are working with banks for private loans.

The Youngstown Initiative Program is designed to attract and keep small businesses in the city by offering access to money and an SBA loan guarantee.

Businesses provide at least 10 percent of the cost of starting up or expanding, and the city provides up to 20 percent and no more than $100,000, for those who qualify. The money comes from $1 million the city set aside for the program last year.

After three years, if a business follows the initiative guidelines, the loan is forgiven.

Since 2000, the initiative has lent about $3 million to businesses that were able to leverage $34 million in private funding and create about 800 jobs.

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