Focus Area - Small Business Strengths, Financing, and Technology

This section addresses the following items identified in the SWOT analysis:

Vision Statement

Small businesses need a better support system to operate stronger, financially healthy, and better utilize technology.

Another barrier to small business development in the region is access to limited financing options. Too often businesses must reach outside of the region for financing or are not able to proceed with capital projects. Developers need more local financial solutions to help their business succeed.

Small businesses in the region also tend to under-utilize technology advancements due to lack of broadband access, lack of awareness, lack of skills, or cost. This results in a reduced number of customers, business opportunities, and overall efficiency.

Goals/Objectives

1. Develop more financial partnerships and knowledge of financing instruments.

2. Craft language for legislative consideration to implement an equity investment portal.

3. Work with Chambers of Commerce to receive input, and share information about business support services, financing, technology, opportunities, and solutions to common business issues.

4. Explore the creation of a regional cooperative online marketplace, owned by businesses, that would support “Shop Local/Regional” initiatives, more local businesses online, and increased usage and awareness of online tools and potential sales.

Implementation Activities

1. Discuss barriers to small business lending and opportunities for more local lender participation in projects. Share information for SBA lending or packaging services available within the region.

2. Share information for SWOSU Business Enterprise Center and/or Career technology centers.

3. Work with partners to introduce legislation to establish equity investment portal for small business.

4. Review marketplace software platforms and discuss the creation of a cooperative.

5. Seek grant funding or support to build the cooperative marketplace.

Measurable Outcomes

Businesses that have stronger operations, better financial structure, and embrace technology will result in a more stable economy within the region that is more resilient. Increases will be measurable in local sales, internet sales, sales tax collection, employment, earnings, and wages.