Though they are often associated with big businesses like Honda and Scotts Miracle-Gro, Union County and Marysville −the county seat− have taken a keen interest in helping the little guy. In 2009, the Union County Small Business Development Program was launched and in 2010, the Marysville Entrepreneurial Center opened.
When creating the SBDP, Jason Stanford, business development manager for the Union County Economic Development Partnership, says one question was critical: How can we help small businesses?
“The SBDP initially provided support and assistance to business owners through workshops, seminars, and on-site counseling in partnership with the Ohio Small Business Development Center,” he says. “Since then, however, the program has grown to include the Marysville Entrepreneurial Center. The MEC now provides programming and resources to entrepreneurs, home-based businesses, and existing businesses.”
The MEC, located in the Union County Building at 128 S. Main St. in Marysville, is about 600 square feet and features a workspace with WiFi access, a resource library, and on-site small business counseling
It is designed to be a small business resource center from which we coordinate the planting of small businesses into open offices within Union County, says Angela Vertucci, incubator manager at the MEC.
“We offer programs, workshops, and seminars for Union County residents,” Stanford says. “Each opportunity is designed to incorporate networking, idea sharing and business building, as well as offering an educational aspect.”
To date, about 65 small business owners and entrepreneurs have attended workshops and seminars. Ninety more have received counseling service through the SBDC in 2010.
“We are currently working with three companies who are interested in leasing space at the MEC, with two having submitted formal applications,” Stanford says.
Many of the programs initially offered through the SBDP have been transferred to the MEC.
“We believe that the MEC is the best venue for these programs as it creates a countywide ‘one-stop’ for those seeking assistance,” Stanford says.
The MEC’s original mission was to foster the growth of businesses associated with Union County’s predominant industries: manufacturing and research and development.
“However, we have since opened our services and focus to a wider variety of businesses to support the diversification of our local economy,” Vertucci says.
Ultimately, the SBDP and the MEC want to provide small businesses and entrepreneurs the opportunity to take their ideas and grow them into viable, sustainable, and successful businesses, Stanford says.
“By working with partners such as the Ohio Small Business Development Center, TechColumbus, local community and business leaders, and even surrounding communities, we hope to not only strengthen our local economy, but also support regional economic development efforts,” he adds.
To learn more about the Marysville Entrepreneurial Center, visit its Facebook page here.
To learn more about the Union County Small Business Development Program, visit UnionCounty.org.