Lora Jane Hyden was at a crossroads. At 23, the recent college graduate had two major paths before her, one leading to Florida for an exciting opportunity to join a dance company. The other road returned home to Paintsville to open her own dance studio. If she followed the regional statistics and trends, it would have be an easy decision to leave Kentucky, as many of the talented youth in the region often do.
But family was calling and the idea of providing a performing arts opportunity for the children of Paintsville seemed so much more rewarding. Her vision was to offer dance lessons in tap, ballet and jazz. In the end, it was the tug of her community needs and love of family that beckoned her home.
With help from the Small Business Development Center and MACED, Pointe of Joy Performing Arts Center was born, quickly growing to 40 students and recitals throughout the year. Pointe of Joy has now outgrown its leased studio space and is scouting for a permanent location. Lora Jane’s success was recently noted when she was chosen as the winner in the startup business category of the 2005 Excellence in Entrepreneurship Awards sponsored by a consortium of regional development organizations.
Like many young entrepreneurs, Lora Jane had an excellent business idea but no credit history. The possibility of getting a traditional bank loan was slim. So Lora Jane approached MACED to finance her business idea. Although most banks would turn down Lora Jane for being too high risk, MACED saw the greater impact the business would have on her community.
MACED supported Pointe of Joy through our microloan program, giving her the financing she needed to launch and grow the enterprise. Regina Becknell, MACED Business Development Associate, provided guidance and one-on-one financial management assistance so that she could understand the importance of invoicing, taxes and cash flow. Lora Jane views MACED’s role as pivotal in her decision to become an entrepreneur. Lora Jane says, “If it wasn’t for Regina and MACED, I wouldn’t be here.”