Perhaps it’s because I’ve been in my own little world with my kids and work since returning to Redding that I hadn’t heard about all the programs here in Redding for small business owners. Or, after talking with many people and other classmates at Leadership Redding, I’m thinking perhaps it’s not just me – perhaps the average Redding or Shasta County citizen is not aware of what is being done to help the economic development and small businesses of our area.
The Leadership Redding class of 2009 met once again, and last month’s class was on economic development. We had a total of 16 speakers so my head is still spinning and I can’t begin to share everything we heard, but once again what a great day and, wow, what a lot of important information!
I know we could all write lists of things that are challenges for business owners and that we’d like to change. One business owner gave his “wish list” of things he would want in this community to support his business (i.e. shuttle service to Sacramento Airport). I would love a discussion on what other’s wish lists are too!
What I want to share, though, are some things I learned our community is doing to help small businesses succeed and programs that are there just for the business owners in our area. Perhaps, like me, you weren’t aware of some of these and they may be able to help you out!
The Enterprise Zone: If your business is located within boundaries of the Shasta Metro Enterprise Zone you may qualify for the incentives under this program. Created to help encourage business investment and the creation of new jobs there are many credits, deductions and incentives available to small businesses. For more information and to see if you are in the Enterprise Zone visit shastaedc.org/incentives.asp.
SAFE-BIDCO is an organization that was created to offer state and federal loan and guarantee programs to small businesses. They are a non-traditional financing source for start-up and already existing businesses that may have difficulty getting a loan through traditional lending institutions. They have loans for as little as $1,000 all the way up to $750,000, depending on the purpose. For more information visit safe-bidco.com.
Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at Shasta College was created to meet the needs of small businesses here in Shasta County. They offer many services to small businesses including business management advice, counseling services, workshops, and training and information resources. They even have a new program for young people wanting to start their own business called The Young Entrepreneur Program. For more information visit sbdcsc.org.
SMART Business Resource Center provides many services to businesses including seminars (i.e. a website design workshop), training, job posting, help with The Enterprise Zone and their “Worksite Training” Program that helps with the cost of training new or existing employees. For more information visit thesmartcenter.biz.
If you feel overwhelmed by all the information above, a good place to start is a website created just for that: shastabiz.com. It outlines business needs into six categories and directs you to the organizations that can help you.
Of course I couldn’t even list all of the services available in our area. And I know, we can all complain about what we don’t have, but I find the services we do have impressive. So I hope you take advantage of them, have success and continue to preserve the existence of small businesses in our community! And if you know of other resources for local businesses, please offer up advice in the comments.
Lara Wells Osborn is a Redding native. After traveling and working around the world she has returned to Redding with her husband and three children. She is a real estate agent with Coldwell Banker Westside. She can be reached at 530-276-3026 or by email at email@example.com.