When large businesses are looking to come to Tennessee, major efforts are made to provide assistance that will encourage them to settle and remain here. The state and local governments work together to cut the red tape and expedite the process. However, when new small business tries to start up, expand or simply survive, the level of assistance is considerably less. The individual or small entrepreneur is left to do much more of the research and legwork themselves. These small business owners may need tools to develop or sustain their dreams.
In Clarksville we have several functions that provide small business development and continuance assistance. However, trying to “follow the trail” for this assistance is lengthy and cumbersome. When assistance is found, it may be limited in scope or impersonal. Making it even more difficult, involved institutions can be literally located all over the map.
As mayor, my vision is to establish a small business creation and assistance center. It would be a “one-stop shopping” operation: the potential new business owner, or existing small business owner can enter and have access to all the business tools, knowledge, planning materials, available financial support outlets and mentoring that would aid in a successful startup or help an existing small business in time of need or expansion.
Local businesses and financial institutions would offer their knowledge, skills and business capabilities to these new and existing business people at the center. City departments would offer services at the center by helping with initial paperwork, work permit and fee/deposit requirements, provide monthly or annual cost estimates and assist with any review board actions.
This centralized concept would expand the city’s small business environment with greater potential success; and create more jobs and profitability for both the person starting the new business and for those providing the assistance. Statistics show the five-year survival/success rate for startup businesses getting such help is twice as high as those that do not.
I would envision the City of Clarksville, Tennessee Small Business Development Center, Austin Peay State University, Ft Campbell, Chamber of Commerce, Aspire Foundation, Economic Development Council and others providing and coordinating the structure, knowledge and networking that a successful business startup and existing small business needs.
By working together we can create new jobs and small businesses and make for a better Clarksville.