By Chris Wendel, Regional Director – Small Business & Technology Development Center
Last week I represented our organization at a local lender’s forum. These get togethers are typically organized by a local chamber of commerce or economic development group to give local businesses people, bankers and other financial related organizations a feel for the borrowing climate and available financial resources. With the extreme changes in our state and national economy it was interesting to see how things have shaken out on the local level.
I was surprised by how some of financial institutions viewed the plight of a start up business. The word entrepreneur was flying around the room, yet the prevailing thoughts centered around the traditional bricks and mortar start up, where large sums of money are initially needed for renting a building location and financing the owner’s wages while the business gets rolling.
This is counter to many of the start ups our office is seeing around the region. The new model includes many Internet based businesses that start on a small scale as a side enterprise. The owner is many times looking for auxiliary income and if the idea if well accepted, it is expanded over time, and then the owner considers the plunge to full time self-employment.
Examples include the stay at home mom who successfully runs an online retail operation selling not just to the local community but throughout the country and world, the self published author who writes when time permits around their regular job, and the hobby gardener who sells their produce to a local roadside farm market.
These small niche businesses collectively provide viable economic impact to the area and disposable income that is spent with other local businesses. These enterprises require small amounts of start up funding, are truly resourceful, and do I dare say…entrepreneurial.