We all have heard the statement that small businesses create the greatest impact on the economic rebound. While we know this to be true, it’s bigger than just small businesses on their own. Small businesses need the resources, information and connections from the rest of the business community to thrive and in turn, grow the Columbus Region economy.
A few weeks ago, I attend and participated in two local conferences designed specifically for women- and minority-owned businesses. South Central Ohio Minority Supplier Development Council hosted its Ohio Business Opportunity Fair, which was followed by the Black Enterprise Conference, hosted by Nationwide. Both events left me embracing a particular theme: It’s bigger than you.
I spoke with the hundreds of women- and minority-owned employers, buyers, certifying agency representatives and service providers who attended these events, and the more we discussed it, the clearer it became. It’s bigger than you means that the business community needs to take responsibility for the success of our small businesses, particularly the women- and minority-owned.
So, what resources might be right for these business owners? I’m glad you asked! There are many resources that can be found on the Columbus Chamber’s Diversity Bridge website, from financing to bidding, and from business planning to locating the right service provider who can help take your business to the next level. Additionally, there is a common certification application that can assist businesses with starting the women- or minority-owned business certification process.
But, Diversity Bridge isn’t all. Other available small business resources include:
- • 1st Stop Business Connection – provides free state-level information needed to get started or continue on your entrepreneurial journey. The document Starting a Business in Ohio provides great basic information and how to plan for your business’ financial needs.
- • City of Columbus Economic Development – offers a variety of business development tools including small business loans, funds for neighborhood commercial revitalization and financial business incentives for companies that are investing in the City of Columbus.
- • Economic & Community Development Institute (ECDI) – provides a network of comprehensive support services to build the economic and social capacities of individuals, families, enterprises and communities. To achieve this goal, ECDI offers micro-enterprise training and technical assistance, individual development accounts and micro-loans for small businesses.
- • INCREASE Community Development Corporation – a faith-based non-profit organization devoted to increasing the quality of life in Central Ohio through education, entrepreneurship and economic development.
- • Ohio Small Business Development Centers (SBDC) – provides entrepreneurial development assistance and business consulting to start-up and emerging business owners.
- • Columbus Chamber of Commerce – the Chamber helps businesses thrive by connecting them with the right information, resources and connections.
As we celebrate National Small Business Week (June 17 – 21), we should remember that we are all connected, and that it is bigger than us. The success of our peers means the success of the Columbus Region.
Hear insights from Pamela Springer, CEO of Manta Media, Inc., a Chamber member and Small Business Award Winner, as part of our Small Business Leader Insights video series:
For more information about how we can help your business, please contact Somers L. Martin, director of business development services for the Columbus Chamber at (614) 225.6919 or [email protected].