Small Business Job Creation and Retention

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. Assistance may be in the form of location identification, infrastructure needs, knowledge of state regulations, a trained workforce, and a wide array of financial incentives. The state and local governments should work together to cut the red tape and expedite the process.

 

When large businesses are looking to come to Tennessee, major efforts are made to provide assistance

Small businesses deserve similar assistance to start and remain viable. However, presently when new small business tries to start up, expand or simply survive, the level of assistance is less. The individual or small entrepreneur has to do much more of the research and legwork themselves. Many of these small business owners may have invested all of their savings just trying to open, or sustain, their “dream.”

 

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 in personnel. On top of that, all of the involved institutions are literally located all over the map.

 

Small businesses deserve similar assistance to start and remain viable.

As mayor, my vision is establishing a small business creation and assistance center. Some may think of a “business incubator”, but many incubators specialize toward specific businesses and the facility is used more for the operations of a business. My concept is a more all-purpose approach and shorter in term, at least in the initial phases. It would be a “one-stop shopping” operation having the potential new business owner, or existing small business owner, walking through the doors and not leaving without access to all the business tools, knowledge, planning materials, available financial support outlets and mentoring that would aid in a successful startup or to help an existing small business in time of need or expansion.

 

This facility would have small offices that a new business startup owner could use on a short-term contract basis to get the research, development and operational setups determined. This facility would have technology, office equipment, a research library, conference rooms, administrative help and subject matter experts available. Potential new business owners could gather information and develop business and marketing plans they will need. Then they could explore potential financing sources, legal needs, city permits, and all other aspects needed to start a business.

 

…my vision is establishing a small business creation and assistance center.

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. An expanded and centralized business-mentoring program would be established at this facility. This centralized concept would expand the city’s small business environment with greater potential success 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.

 

However, there is another measure of success that this consolidated business creation center can provide that I learned in talking with our local Small Business Development Center. If the research, business and marketing plan does not provide the positive outcome a potential new or existing small business owner expected, then they may stop the further investment of time and money before they could potentially spend all of their savings and assets in a losing venture.

 

An expanded and centralized business-mentoring program would be established…

While the city can provide leadership, facility establishment and support, it cannot do it alone and have long-term success. We will need partners assisting in the organizational development, financing and operation of such a center. 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 consolidating the many programs available under one roof and under one management, we can make starting up or growing a small business in Clarksville easier with a greater chance of success.

 

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Election Day 2018

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