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Page 42

Small Business an Engine for Growth

Gwynn Stewart, MS, OSU Community Development Educator, OSU Extension - Noble County

According to The Ohio Department of Development Services Agency, small businesses are fueling the engines of growth in our state. Small businesses are some of the most important drivers of our economy, making up roughly 98 percent of all Ohio businesses and employing half of our state’s private-sector workforce.1 OSU Extension in Noble County administers a local small business loan program that supports business owners in their endeavors. With funding provided through the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), the Noble County program works with the potential owner, from the planning stages through the business launch. In the small town of Caldwell, Ohio, when you dine at Kathy’s Kitchen or have a specialty coffee or lunch at Local Roots, you can thank a small business development loan program. Both owners relied on the program to kick-start their ownership and operations. With less than $3,000 left on his original loan of $25,000 for Kathy’s Kitchen, owner Michael Smith is excited to pay off the debt and have even more financial freedom in 2019. “Without the help of the business loan program, I couldn’t have achieved my goal at owning my own restaurant,” said Smith. This small-town, family-owned restaurant with a full service menu and homemade daily specials is located right on the square in Caldwell, Ohio. Rusty Moncrief, owner of Local Roots enjoys providing the community a gathering place through his business where he plans to begin a new book club program in 2019. He also partners when possible with local growers to secure farm-totable menu options. Partnering with experts from the region’s Small Business Development Center (SBDC) on an on-going basis, they assist with business counseling and assistance to those starting or seeking to grow a business. The Small Business DevelopFeb. Crossroads 42

ment Center is staffed with highly-trained, Certified Business Advisors who help small businesses and entrepreneurs with development and growth to increase sales and create jobs. Whether it’s an evaluation of the business, an analysis of the cash flow, financial projections, strategic business planning or identifying sources of capital, the small business development centers are quite a resource. They even include one-on-one business counseling and assist those interested in export assistance. Learn more at www.ohiosbdc.org. Entrepreneurs can also get resources from the loan funds operated by the regional development districts such as The Ohio Mid-Eastern Governments Association (OMEGA) serving 10 Ohio counties: Belmont, Carroll, Columbiana, Coshocton, Guernsey, Harrison, Holmes, Jefferson, Muskingum and Tuscarawas or Buckeye Hills Regional Council serving eight counties: Athens, Hocking, Meigs, Monroe, Morgan, Noble, Perry, and Washington. Loan fund program requirements vary so check each one out individually at omegadistrict.us or buckeyehills.org. Regional support is available through the network of small business incubators, “maker spaces” and training as well. MCBI located at the Zane State College Campus adjacent to the IDEA Lab, is a high-tech maker space where inventors and entrepreneurs build product prototypes. Learn more at www.mcbi. Marietta is also home to the Building Bridges to Careers Epicenter and Makerspace. Learn more at buildingbridgestocareers.org. Fostering a strong climate for small business growth with many local community partners including college and universities, Ohio is working to create an economic climate for small businesses to succeed and when they do they help retain and create jobs, growing the regional economy. (Endnotes) 1 development.ohio.gov

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The Crossroads embrace the journey  

by Southeast publications A Journalistic journey through southeastern, Ohio. Diverse community stories, puzzles & more

The Crossroads embrace the journey  

by Southeast publications A Journalistic journey through southeastern, Ohio. Diverse community stories, puzzles & more

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