Greencastle recognizes small businesses

Friday, May 8, 2015
Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Tammy Johnson, local promoter of entrepreneurship Ken Eitel and Greencastle/Putnam County Development Center Executive Director Bill Dory join Greencastle Mayor Sue Murray to sign a proclamation declaring Small Business Week. (Banner Graphic/Sabrina Westfall)

In an effort to show support for entrepreneurs, Greencastle Mayor Sue Murray signed a proclamation to declare May 4 - 8 as Small Business Week.

Murray signed the declaration Wednesday morning alongside representatives that promote and assist local small businesses, including Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Tammy Johnson, Greencastle/Putnam County Development Center Executive Director Bill Dory, West Central Indiana Small Business Development Center (ISBDC) Regional Director Courtney Richey and Ken Eitel, a local promoter of entrepreneurship.

The proclamation states in part, "America's small businesses employ half of our country's private sector workforce, creating nearly two out of every three jobs in our country."

Murray stressed the importance of highlighting small businesses and informing people who are considering starting a small business to know there are resources locally to help them get established and stay established.

"These businesses are run by your neighbors and friends," Eitel stressed.

Programs through the ISBDC, Ivy Tech and the local chapter of SCORE (Senior Corp of Retired Executives), with which Eitel volunteers, that all provide mentoring advice.

Dory said there are groups that stand behind each of their organizations to continually provide information and resources to those in need.

Johnson stressed about 80 percent of the Chamber's members represent small businesses with fewer than 50 employees, which shows the impact of small businesses locally.

"We want people to contact us. It's a process to start a new business, and if can be overwhelming if you don't know about all the resources," Johnson said.

Richey said in recent years there had been a shift away from the small business, but the ISBDC is now seeing a trend of people trying to get away from the big box stores. The organization not only helps to establish new entrepreneurial ventures, but also helps those established continue to thrive.

"This proclamation shows the city's support for the community's small business. They are just as important as a new factory moving in. They need to know they are supported by the city, Main Street group and the Chamber," Richey said. "Hopefully this will get someone excited and seek out the resources to open a small business."

She explained small businesses are important because it allows the business and its customers to build a relationship with frequent face-to-face interactions that the customer might not get at a big box store.

Richey said the ISBDC has business advisors that help people deal with the numbers and resources that come along with starting a business.

"A lot of times when people start a business, they are experts in that field, such as a pizza shop or a mechanic. Our focus is helping to create a business plan, figure out their finances and marketing. If they don't reach out they may get frustrated," Richey explained. "Once they are in business, we want to stay in touch with them because other issues could arise."

She said these resources are not limited to newly started businesses because keeping a business running is also a priority.

"We can help them with a strategic plan and marketing plant. We can help them find a pocket that is under served by that type of business and help them find opportunities. We can help them get a second loan, or even if they did not get a loan initially but need one now. We can help secure that funding," Richey said.

She added even if their resources are limited when an issue arises, they will help find someone that knows the answer.

"There is no cost for our services, aside from some of the workshops. If we don't have the resources we will make it our mission to find someone who does," Richey said.

Contact the chamber at 653-4517, the development center at 653-6385 or the ISBDC at 800-227-7232 for more information.

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: