Chamber hears from SBA representative

Larry Batten told the Buckhannon-Upshur Chamber of Commerce this week that after eight years of owning his own company, he knows the lurking pitfalls awaiting business owners.

Now with the U.S. Small Business Administration, Batten told the gathering Monday that the Clarksburg office of the SBA can offer some valuable information to those thinking about starting their own business or those looking for additional opportunities for an already existing business.

“We have a ton of knowledge in the office,” he said. “Over 60 percent of the jobs being created are being created by small business.”

Batten explained there are three “C’s” business owners should consider. He said contracting, especially government contracting, is something largely overlooked.

“The government is the largest purchaser of goods and services,” he said. “Government contracting is an amazing way to expand a business. It helped the I-79 corridor to grow big time.”

Another of the “C’s” is capital. While the SBA does not provide loans or grants, it does help clients in obtaining funds through lending institutions.

“We guarantee loans,” Batten said. “We sort of act as a co-signer at banks.

The final “C” is counseling. He said many of the workers in the SBA offices have gone through many of the same problems as struggling business owners. He said the staff is available to help people through their problems.

Batten said the local SBA office will be very active in the Buckhannon area in the coming months. A Credit Re-build Workshop will be from 10 to 11 a.m. May 28 in the McCue Room of the American Legion. It is open to the public.

He said future workshops will be held on topics such as the use of social media in promoting a business and how the new Affordable Care Act will affect small businesses.

In other matters, Chamber of Commerce president Sam Nolte announced that the executive board promoted Tammy Reger to the role of executive director of the organization. Reger formerly served as the administrative assistant.