EDC Executive Director TJ Berry says stressing the organization's small business services is an important step to growing the region's job base.
Although these services take several forms, all target assistance that is often critical for small businesses at several stages of development, from initial planning to finance, sales and succession.
Executive Director TJ Berry said the EDC’s mission is to support and grow jobs. “Although we always hear a lot about the large corporations, small businesses are the basis for most job growth in any area, including Clay County,” he said. “By assisting our small-business members, we’re helping grow jobs and improve the economy of Clay County.”
And being a nonprofit organization, the EDC services are generally available at no or low cost to members. These services include business brokerage, business plan creation, financial status evaluation and even assistance with sales or succession planning.
“We can help business owners determine the real worth of their business if they’re planning to sell or retire and leave it to a family member,” Berry said. “That’s not your financial status, but it’s the kind of information you need to know before you talk to a bank or a buyer. We know business, and we know Clay County.”
That area of knowledge extends to financing, including the EDC’s affiliate Midwest Small Business Finance, which administers low-interest, fixed rate loans. The EDC also interacts with area city governments, including planning and zoning officials and often helps small businesses navigate requirements and regulations that can be especially difficult for small companies where a limited group, even an individual, is attempting to “run the whole show.”
“And since we’re a nonprofit, our members don’t have to worry about our motivation,” Berry concluded. “These are tools that nearly every small business can use.”
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