When I’m out talking to groups I‘m often asked the question, “Does the Regional Chamber assist small businesses?” The answer is a resounding yes!
Our organization is in business to advocate for and assist businesses of all sizes in Flint-Genesee County. We help our members with business retention and expansion, workforce training, diversification, business planning and much more. Let me share a few examples.
We have several programs that are helping businesses prosper. For example, our Procurement Technical Assistance Center, or PTAC, continues to play a critical role in the community helping businesses compete for government contracts. In 2011, PTAC helped 290 businesses secure nearly $50 million in government contract value.
Our E-Team is also hard at work focused on “economic gardening”. Their key objective is to help entrepreneurs and companies - small and large - grow their businesses and create jobs.
One of the E-Team’s premiere events is the Annual Jumpstart Conference, where entrepreneurs are offered an abundance of information about local resources and services that will increase their chances of success. Earlier this year, 100 entrepreneurs and start-ups attended the conference and took advantage of six seminars. Participants also had an opportunity to hear other business professionals talk about their experiences with starting, developing and managing businesses.
The E-Team also offers a broad range of support including financing, business planning and marketing. Their membership has now expanded to more than 30 service providers including Automation Alley, Commerce Connect and Digital Fabrication Laboratory, or Fab Lab, created by Mott Community College. At the Fab Lab, individuals are taught how to take an idea and turn it into a tangible object.
Our members also benefit from our services provided by our Employer Education & Training Group. They help businesses train their people, arming them with new or improved skills that help retain their jobs. Over 700 businesses and their employees benefited from seminars and other training held by our team last year.
Another important opportunity that we offer our members is business and social networking. Our Member Services team hosts at a minimum two networking events per month. These activities allow you meet people from other businesses and potentially identify opportunities to bring in new customers or collaborate on a new product. Additionally, we have five business committees where any member can get involved. Again, this is an opportunity to work on key issues and meet, partner and learn from other professionals.
These are just a few of the ways that the Regional Chamber supports small businesses in the area. Please visit our website to learn about a variety of opportunities for support and engagement. If you have specific questions that you want to ask us, give our offices a call and we’ll connect you with one of our business development managers. We are here to assist our member businesses and entrepreneurs helping them to succeed and grow. I encourage you to take advantage of our services.