BY JENNA HORIUCHI FOR RURAL ACTION
Rural Action’s partner entrepreneur support teams have been busy interviewing business owners as a critical piece of the Energizing Entrepreneurial Communities puzzle that will help their local businesses to thrive and grow. Volunteer support teams in Amesville, Logan, McArthur, Nelsonville, New Straitsville, and Pomeroy have collectively gathered survey responses from 31 business owners to date!
Support teams began mapping their follow-up plans by identifying the best business resources to support the needs that were identified. Through their business owner interviews, the teams are seeing that many area businesses are optimistic about the communities they live in, and several plan to add new products, invest in new equipment, and sell to new markets.
Growing a strong local business support system is even more important when considering that over 80% of the businesses in Ohio have five employees or less; nationally 92% of businesses have five or fewer employees. These small businesses add proportionally more jobs to the economy than some of the larger employers, attract and retain younger workers, and help keep rural communities vibrant.
Supporting small business owners can be as simple as providing a connection to the best resource for their needs, or as in-depth as organizing a networking event that allows entrepreneurs and resource providers to begin building better working relationships. At the regional gathering the entrepreneur support teams began designing a personalized resource network that will make our region an even better place for local business to grow!