If the secret to a prosperous future lies in the encouragement and support of entrepreneurs and new and expanding business, then in Otsego County the secret is clearly out.
Carolyn Lewis, the Otsego CountyEconomic Developer spoke with Sweet Results-Careers and detailed a variety of ways in which the future economy is being nurtured.
“We offer several loan programs to help new or expanding businesses, either through the County of Otsego Industrial Development Agency, the Otsego County Development Corporation, the Otsego County Economic Development Office and our Micro-Enterprise Loan Program. Those organizations offer low interest loans to businesses that are starting or expanding.” “In partnership with the Micro-Enterprise Loan Program we also offer a free ‘How to Start and Operate a Small Business’ class in conjunction with the Utica School of Commerce. That’s offered in the fall of every year – a FREE 13-week course.”
“The class is held once a week. (Last year it was on Wednesdays from 6:30 to 9:30.)”
“It walks you through the entire process of writing a business plan. Every week is dedicated to a section of a business plan that needs to be addressed. So at the end of the course you have a complete business plan that you can take to a bank for funding, and also have a basis for a website.”
But Lewis is quick to point out that the County’s assistance to start-up business doesn’t end there. Along with its support of the monetary and planning aspects of a new venture, the County also provides a physical foundation for success.
“In terms of physical infrastructure, the IDA owns two business parks. One, down in Oneonta, is a light industrial business park. We have available acreage for people to buy if they want to construct a building. We’re also in the process of building an industrial park in the northern end of the county, in Richfield.”
“So that will allow the infrastructure with 3-phase electric, water, sewer, internet connection and all the resources that you need from a physical side of owning a business in terms of space.”
Speaking of the internet, Lewis elaborates, “Wireless has become a very popular technology, especially for our county, where you don’t have the demand so the TimeWarners and the Verizons aren’t really laying new cable down. It is also able to access the terrain a little better, and it’s easier to ‘build out’ with wireless.” She adds, “We have a couple of initiatives going on to enhance wireless – both cell phone and internet availability.”
Whether its due to the mobility that internet communication allows, the inherent attractiveness of our quality of life, or the assistance and support of its business leadership, Otsego County’s economy is growing in many sectors – from light, specialty manufacturing to retail and year-round tourism.
We asked Lewis if she had any words of advice for those interested in bringing their business to the area. Her response… “Come!”
We would add “and see her.” Carolyn Lewis knows the secret to success lies in helping YOU.