Business owners take advantage of help offered -, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Business owners take advantage of help offered

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By Jennifer Emert - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Ninty-five percent of businesses in Georgia are small businesses.

Friday's expo was an effort by the state to help new businesses hit the ground running and help existing business expand.

The state considers a business with fewer than 500 employees a small business, that's most shops here in Dougherty and Lee Counties. Even during these tough times we found business owners interested in what help they could find to add jobs and grow their business.

Catherine Robinson is a Registered Nurse. In addition to her day job, she owns a part time business, New Leaf Alternatives, a health and wellness center on Dawson Road.

"We also do a special test called an electrodermal screening. That test helps a person to find out in their body, different organs and systems are out of balance and we'll tell them what they can take in order to balance their systems," said Catherine Robinson, a business owner.

Friday she was looking for resources to keep the doors open full time.

"That's one of the things we need to have additional funding to make our business known in the community," said Robinson.

State officials say there is money available to help local business grow.

"The average person may have difficulty figuring out how this can help me and at DCA we have six different funding sources that we're benefiting from," said John Ellis, Department of Community Affairs Assistant Director.

As more money, including stimulus funds becomes available, some caution businesses need to be careful not to rush into an expansion.

"You need to really carefully plan it out and not just run into it because there is money out there. You need to think okay, can I afford to take this risk at this time," said Sue Ford, UGA Small Business Development Center.

That's why business owners were steered toward talking with UGA's Small Business Development Center that offers free consultant services so businesses can develop a plan for success and find the money to help.

"SBA has done a lot with their loan program to encourage bankers to lend money to these small businesses," said Ford.

Friday state officials said many successful small business were started during a recession. If you weren't able to make it out to Friday's expo, here are some links to the sites that could provide you with both home and business resources,

Three more Business and Housing Expos will be held Saturday in Athens, Atlanta, and Calhoun.


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