Business Assistance

Hancock Community Development Foundation (HCDF)

Following Hurricane Katrina, the Hancock Chamber established the Hancock Community Development Foundation as a 501 (c)(3) public charity in May 2006 to act as a funding conduit for recovery projects with a broad community focus.


The specific purposes of incorporation are to sponsor and support:

• Recovery and rebuilding projects

• Educational and community programs that stimulate job creation

• Foster small business growth and support workforce development

• Scholarships for the purpose of youth in Hancock County attaining a college education. Hancock Chamber programs that further the purpose of the foundation and economic development and business growth in Hancock County

• Grant research, development and administration

• Coordinate charitable fundraising to support qualified educational and community programs, and community non-governmental organizations. While the Hancock Chamber was established in 1925, business leaders never saw the need for a 501 (c)(3) non-profit until the nation’s worst natural disaster struck. If they had not acted swiftly to set up this institutional, financial, technical and legal resource, the community would have been unable to implement critical recovery programs to rebuild Hancock County. Due to Katrina, the application to the IRS for 501 (c)(3) status was expedited through the help of Mississippi Congressional Offices and in three weeks’ time, the status was granted.

Some of the initiatives undertaken by the Foundation include:

• Development of the Hancock Housing Resource Center to restore housing lost to Katrina.

• Establishment of the Bay-Waveland Main Street Association, now a fund of the Foundation for downtown revitalization.

• Incubation of 20 non-profit causes from the arts to education to historic preservation.

The Award Winning Job Generation Fund (JGF) for small businesses, the Business Resource Center and the Award Winning system of Scenic Byways throughout Hancock County.

Business Resource Center

The Chamber’s Award Winning Business Resource Center operates five days per week, 9am – 5pm.

It takes the right mix of tools, networking and know-how for small businesses to succeed in today’s competitive environment. Entrepreneurs now have a place they can turn to for help in getting their business off on the right foot: Created by the Hancock Chamber with support from the City of Bay St. Louis and the Economic Development Administration, the mission of the Business Resource Center is to support and grow your local businesses.

The Chamber Business resource Center offers valuable services to business owners, including mentoring in important areas such as financial planning, marketing, and future growth strategies. Workshops, seminars and classes on all aspects of successful business development are offered, and the Center provides guidance from experienced sources in developing business contacts, pursuing government contracts and opportunities, and gaining recognition for your business through competitions and media resources.


Call 228.467.9048 for more information or click here for information on our free small business workshops.

Job Generation Fund

The Award Winning Hancock County Job Generation Fund (HCJGF) is an economic development recovery program designed to enhance the recovery of small businesses in Hancock County affected by Hurricane Katrina. Funding for this Katrina Community Development Block Grant (KCDBG) is part of the $200 million provided by the Mississippi Development Authority (MDA) to Hancock County. The HCJGF is a $3 million dollar loan program to small businesses that were located in Hancock County 6 months prior to Hurricane Katrina and are committed to remaining here for at least five (5) years.

To be eligible for funding, a Mississippi Small business must have been in existence within Hancock County, Mississippi on or before February 28, 2005, and suffered losses, damages, displacement or substantial business interruption as a direct result of the hurricane.

The interest rate of the loan will be established at a fixed rate of 2.0%.  All loans are made to businesses.  The owner or owners of the business will be required to personally guarantee the loan.  The minimum amount of the loan is $5,000. The maximum amount is $50,000, unless the small business is located in designated waterfront areas within Hancock County, in which case the maximum amount of the loan is $150,000.

The term of the JGF Loan shall be a maximum maturity of five (5) years.  Further, the term of the loan may not exceed the useful life of the collateral.

The JGF loan program is unique in that a loan recipient is given an opportunity to convert a loan made at the existing interest rate (2%) into a forgivable loan providing the loan recipient meets the following qualifications: Purchases a building within the county (the entirety of which is a blighted area), rehabs the building to meet current area building codes; and maintains operations in that building for a minimum of  five (5) years; or Rehabs a building presently owned by the applicant and maintains business operations in that building for a minimum of five (5) years; or Hires and/or retains a minimum of one (1) full-time employee for every $35,000 of loan proceeds and  partial increments up to $35,000.

Program Delivery:

Mike Chapoton is the Loan Officer. Alexander and Alexander P.C. provide legal services.


The Foundation received 236 JGF Loan Pre-applications and 128 JGF Loan applications.  The Foundation has worked with 60 companies; has closed loans with 42 companies with $2,283,500 committed;  the total cash request approved as of December is $2,087 million;  $150,000 of loans in repayment;  over $60,000 collected in principal and interest repayments;  40 jobs created or retained;  now into the construction management and compliance phase.

For more information, call the Chamber office at 228.467.9048.

Questions? Please Contact (228) 467-9048