The Jamestown area has experienced an increase in small business development over the past year, leading local business advisors to predict “great year” 2023 for small businesses.
When asked if the Small Business Development Center at Jamestown Community College has seen an increase in small business development over the past year, Director Dr. Courtney Curatolo said: “no doubt” SBDC has “absolutely” Throughout 2022, the region will see an increase in small business entrepreneurship and growth.
“Now that we’re past COVID-19, we’ve had a lot of people come in and people are really starting to land with their ideas and form those ideas for startups,” Curatolo said.
Based on data collected by the SBDC, Curatolo believes a combination of factors has contributed to the growth of small businesses in the region over the past year.
One of the main reasons for the increase in the number of small businesses is the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, Curatolo said.
“If someone had been laid off in the past two years because of the pandemic or any other reason, a lot of them would have said, ‘You know what, this is my chance to start my own business. thoughts for a while,'” she says. “These people are making their way into small businesses, and many of them are very successful.”
The end of the year and the start of the new year are another factor contributing to the increased interest in starting a small business, Curatolo said.She says SBDC helps “Lots of clients” During January and February, they implemented their New Year’s resolution to start a new business.
With the increase in small businesses in the region, Curatolo said the SBDC can help small business owners succeed. She explained that SBDC is a free service for any small business with fewer than 500 employees.
Throughout New York State, there are 22 Small Business Development Centers. The Local SBDC serves businesses in Chautauqua County, Katarogers County, and Allegheny County. While Curatolo said most of the local offices are in Jamestown, she said the SBDC has outreach offices in both Dunkirk and Olean. SBDC also plans to expand its presence in Allegheny County in 2023.
“We have four certified business consultants who can help with anything from business plan development, financial projections, developing a marketing plan, helping with launching a website, implementing e-commerce into a website,” Curatolo said.
SBDC also has an online business school with various courses that can be viewed for free at any time. SBDC also offers two paid certification courses in Social Media and Entrepreneurship Fundamentals.
Some of SBDC’s free online courses stemmed from the COVID-19 pandemic, when Curatolo said SBDC realized that many local businesses either didn’t have a website or one designed for e-commerce.
“At the beginning of COVID-19, they were not ready to move their business to the technology world,” she says. “We have developed two freely available courses that show how to create a website on different platforms and how to implement e-commerce from different platforms in your website.”
In addition to SBDC’s online courses, the organization offers one-on-one training opportunities, Curatolo said.
Going into 2023, Curatolo says she is “very excited,” because she believes 2023 will be “great year” Available for small businesses in the area.According to Curatolo, the SBDC is planning to acquire “Back to Basics” By prioritizing business outreach opportunities and transforming local communities in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Before COVID-19, we really did a lot of outreach in different communities, working with a lot of minorities, and we had a lot of social ideas coming out of different libraries in the area,” she says. “Our goal in 2023 is to really go back to these ideas that we came up with in COVID-19. Our boots will be on the ground, not in our remote offices, our homes and our workspaces.”
Curatolo says SBDC is important “Out of the community” And showcase the variety of services available to small businesses in the area for free.
While Curatolo believes 2023 will be “Exciting” For SBDC and local small businesses, she acknowledged that small businesses continue to face many challenges.
Between state legislation, legal issues, state and federal restrictions, tax information and human resources issues, Curatolo said small business owners often have to juggle many issues at once.
“I think the biggest problem is that as a business owner, you have to wear 10 different hats, and you have to know a little bit about each hat,” she says. “The good news is our consultants can really help in different areas.”
While every small business may not be fully aware or fully equipped to handle every aspect of the business, Curatolo said the SBDC offers services that help small business owners through every process of growing a local business.
Curatolo added that the SBDC has a Business Licensing Center that helps Chautauqua County businesses through the process of obtaining the necessary permits and licenses needed to own and operate a business. She explained that it can be difficult for businesses to keep abreast of the latest laws, restrictions and legislation regarding the business world. To reduce this pressure, SBDC works with local businesses to raise awareness of any changes businesses need to make to comply with local, state and federal restrictions.
For small businesses interested in the free services offered by the SBDC, Curatolo says the Jamestown location’s website (www.sbdcjcc.org) and the online business academy’s website (sbdcbusinessacademy.com/) are good places to start.
“They can call us, they can visit our website,” Curatolo said. “We have a lot of resources on our website; we’re also active on Facebook and LinkedIn, so they can always visit our Facebook page.”
Curatolo says SBDC is now focusing on social media use “important portion” small business community.She explained that social media presents an opportunity for SBDC “window” Various small businesses in the area.
While everything SBDC does to help small businesses is confidential, Curatolo said the group can help local businesses get some marketing opportunities on SBDC’s Facebook page and other social media platforms.
“I don’t want to be the best kept secret in the community,” she says. “I want everyone to know we’re here to help. We’re free and confidential, and we have a lot of experts on our team ready to help.”