The Jamestown region has experienced an increase in small business growth over the past year, prompting local business advisors to a “Big Year” 2023 for small businesses.
Dr. Courtney Curatolo, director of Jamestown Community College’s Small Business Development Center, asked about the increase in small business growth over the past year. “Without question.” SBDC has “oh no” 2022 saw an increase in small business start-ups and developments in the region.
“Now that we’re going through Covid-19, we’ve had a lot of people coming in, and people are getting boots on the ground with their ideas and creating those ideas for startup businesses. Curatolo said.
Based on data collected by the SBDC, Curatolo believes a number of factors contributed to the increase in small businesses in the region last year.
Curatolo said one of the main reasons for the increase in small businesses is the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.
In the last couple of years, if someone has been laid off because of the pandemic or whatever, many have said, ‘You know what, this is my chance to go into business for myself.’ I follow an idea that I’ve had in my head for a while.’ She said. “Those people are taking the leap in small businesses, and many of them are becoming very successful.”
Curatolo said the end of the year and the beginning of the new year is another factor that increases demand for people starting small businesses. She said the SBCC would help. “Lots of customers.” As they implement their New Year’s resolutions to start new businesses in January and February.
As small businesses continue to grow in the region, Curatolo said the SBDC is helping small business owners succeed. She explained that the SBDC is a free service for any small business with fewer than 500 employees.
Across New York State, there are 22 Small Business Development Centers. The local SBDC serves businesses in Chautauqua, Cattaraugus and Allegany counties. Most of the local offices are in Jamestown, Curatolo said, adding that the SBDC has operational offices in both Dunkirk and Olean. The SBDC plans to expand its operations in Allegany County by 2023.
“We have four certified business consultants, and they are involved in anything from business plan development, financial projections, marketing planning, helping to launch a website, implementing e-commerce into a website.” Curatolo said.
SBDC also has an online business academy with a variety of courses that are free to view anytime. SBDC offers two paid certificates in Social Media and Essentials of Entrepreneurship.
Some of the SBDC’s free online courses are a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, Curatolo said, adding that the SBDC has learned that many local businesses don’t have a website or a website properly designed for e-commerce.
At the onset of Covid-19, they were not ready to enter the world of technology for their businesses. She said. We’ve put together two free classes that show you how to create a website on different platforms and how to implement e-commerce from different platforms into your website.
In addition to SBDC’s online courses, Curatolo said the organization offers one-on-one training opportunities.
Heading into 2023, Curatolo says she is confident. “I’m so glad.” 2023 will be as you believe “Big Year” For small businesses in the region. According to Curatolo, he plans to acquire the SBDC “Back to Basics” Prioritizing business opportunities and making a difference in local communities after the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Before Covid-19, we were working a lot with different communities, we were working with a lot of minorities and we were developing a lot of social ideas in different libraries in the region.” She said. Our goal in 2023 is to return to the ideas we had before Covid-19. Our boots will be on the ground instead of our remote offices and our homes and offices.
Curatolo said it’s important to the SBDC. “In Community” And showcase the variety of services available for free to small businesses in the region.
Although Curatolo believes that it will be 2023 “exciting” For the SBDC and local small businesses, she acknowledges that small businesses face many challenges.
Between state law, legal issues, state and federal restrictions, tax information and staffing concerns, Curatolo said small business owners often have to manage multiple risks at the same time.
“I think the biggest issue is that as a business owner you have to wear 10 different hats and know a little bit about each of them.” She said. The good thing is that our consultants can help in many different areas.
While not every small business may be fully knowledgeable or fully equipped to handle all business needs, Curatolo said, the SBDC offers services to help small business owners walk through every step of the process to develop local businesses.
Curatolo added that the SBDC has a business licensing center to help Chauqua County businesses go through the process of obtaining the necessary licenses and permits needed to own and operate businesses. She explained that it can be difficult for businesses to stay up-to-date on new rules, restrictions and laws affecting the business community. To alleviate this stress, the SBDC works with local businesses to raise awareness of the changes businesses need to make in order to continue to comply with local, state and federal restrictions.
For small businesses interested in the free services offered by the SBDC, Curatolo said the Jamestown area website (www.sbdcjcc.org) and the online business academy website (sbcbusinessacademy.com/) are good places to start.
“They can call us or go to our website.” Curatolo said. “We have a lot of resources on our website; we’re also active on Facebook and LinkedIn, so you can always go to our Facebook page.
According to Curatolo, the SBDC currently emphasizes the use of social media a “critical part” Small business community. She explained that social media has created an opportunity for the SBDC. “display” Various small businesses in the region.
While everything the SBDC does to help small businesses is confidential, Curatolo said the organization can help local businesses by taking advantage of some marketing opportunities on the SBDC’s Facebook page and other social media platforms.
“I don’t want to be society’s best kept secret.” She said. I want everyone to know that we are here to help. We are free and confidential, and we have many experts on our team who can help.