Small press publisher SLG Publishing has applied for a grant through Chase Bank and LivingSocial's Mission: Small Business program and would like your help in obtaining it. Mission: Small Business was created to "increase awareness of the important role small businesses play in local communities and to help small businesses grow." To that end, they'll offer $250,000 grants to four to 12 small-business owners. To even be considered, SLG needs to gain the support of at least 250 people who are willing to vote for the company in a show of support. That's where we come in.
SLG is a vital part of the comics industry, having given first breaks to such creators as Evan Dorkin, Andi Watson and Jhonen Vasquez. A $250,000 grant would go a long way toward helping the company continue doing that, and it costs nothing to vote. In addition to helping SLG, every vote gets Chase to add another $5 to the grant pool, thus adding to the potential for more businesses to receive grants.
If you have a Facebook account, just visit the Mission: Small Business site and log in with Facebook. You'll be offered the chance to search for a business to support. To find SLG, use the ZIP code 95113 and the letters SLG in the business name field. They'll be the only one to show up. Please be aware that you can only vote for one business. Once SLG gets 250 votes, they'll be moved to the next level for consideration by the program's sponsors.
The company's founder and owner Dan Vado is clear, though, that not all of the money would go directly toward comics production. "Getting a grant like that would be, without question, a life changing event for us here in our recent history, " he writes. "I have been trying mightily to develop other businesses and revenue streams here as publishing seems to have a very limited future and very little potential for long or short-term growth. While we have one or two books that sell well enough to keep in print it is not the same market that it used to be and selling new work from untested cartoonists is now a nearly impossible task. Our work in the live music area as well as our other small programs show some potential but I lack the capital to truly make those work and the majority of the grant money will be used to develop non-comics businesses."
Diversification is smart business these days. Most comics retailers are discovering the benefits of diversifying into other geek culture areas like games and toys in order to support their comics business. SLG's doing essentially the same thing and it's worth pointing out that helping them to diversify will ultimately help the company to give back to the industry in the way it always has: by giving talented, but untested creators an established, respected entry point.