Small business has help
Economic Gardening in Thurston County with Help from the SBA
By Calvin W. Goings
Gardening usually conjures up thoughts about planting flowers or growing vegetables. However, economic gardening focuses on growing local companies and the local economy. Each type of garden must be sustained. Both take dedication, effort and support. Commitment and passion for your idea must accompany each type of garden. And, you must be prepared for the long haul, because just like gardens, small businesses require a lot of work.
To begin an economic gardening program, one must develop an inventory of community and business assets available. What is the ‘wealth’ in Thurston County? What organizations can you tap into or partner with? Your list of assets should include the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), SCORE, Small Business Development Centers (SBDC), your local chamber of commerce and economic development agency. These organizations contain individuals who have skills and expertise in many areas of business. They offer classes, mentoring, and community forums to meet with local experts.
At the SBA, we’ve had great success growing small entrepreneurs into larger companies that employ lots of people. We believe that effective economic development truly begins at the neighborhood level, right here in your community. For example, Management Services Northwest has become a one-call source for all property related facility needs including plumbing, electrical, painting, finish carpentry and tenant improvements. With the help of an SBA 504 loan, they have grown from a small neighborhood business into a thriving company that now employs over 100 people.
Small businesses are the key to the health and diversity of a neighborhood and the nation’s well-being. They account for a significant share of local employment and overall U.S. economic production. The latest statistics from the Office of Advocacy state there are 27.3 million small businesses in the United States, and over 500,000 are right here in the state of Washington. Small firms make up over 90% of this state’s employers.
That’s a lot of small businesses! And why grooming local entrepreneurs will lead to greater payoffs and create more local jobs right here in Thurston County.
Just like growing plants and vegetables for a garden, growing entrepreneurs and creating jobs is important for your community. Both increase the vibrancy of your town. Both are essential nutrients for economic development and sustainability.
SBA is open for business. We stand ready to support you. Come see us. Make an appointment with a SCORE counselor to kick around your idea, or with an SBDC counselor to develop a new business plan, or a plan for expansion. And, if you need a loan to advance your idea, buy a building or equipment, we have lender relations specialists ready to lend a hand.
To begin your research on business topics, visit the SBA website at http://www.sba.gov/starting_business/index.html. And, for additional resources in your community, please contact your local SBDC. Happy gardening!