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Carroll Business Path Offers Benefits to New Small Business Owners

Release Date: 2/6/2013

Miller Center for Small Business Serves as a Major Partner in the Carroll Business Path

A well-known saying that there is strength in numbers best describes the Carroll Business Path, which offers a “one-stop shop” approach to help small businesses receive services from five county partners in one seamless experience. Such strength in numbers comes from multiple county-wide organizations joining to form one streamlined service to benefit any local small business.

The Carroll Business Path’s five partners include the Miller Center for Small Business at Carroll Community College, the Carroll County Department of Economic Development, the Maryland Small Business and Technology Development Center, the Carroll County Chamber of Commerce, and the Carroll Technology Council.

“I am very pleased that the college is a partner in the Carroll Business Path. I believe it is most beneficial to small businesses,” said College President Dr. Faye Pappalardo.

“The Carroll Business Path centralizes the local resources which are available in Carroll County to start-up businesses and entrepreneurs,” said Coordinator of the Miller Center for Small Business at Carroll Community College, Marlene Titus. “Each partner provides unique benefits to businesses in a complementary fashion so that all needs can be addressed.”

For example, the Miller Center offers courses and training, and events and conferences. “The Miller Center for Small Business is an integral part of the college’s educational services for the business community,” said Vice President of Continuing Education and Training Karen Merkle. “It also provides a unique space where business owners can attend seminars and courses, use high-speed internet for research, or meet with a Business Path counselor.”

“We are so pleased to be a part of this important county collaboration to benefit business growth,” said Merkle. “Nowhere else in the state can a potential new business owner access this collection of unified resources like those found on the Carroll Business Path.”

The Carroll County Department of Economic Development provides a business navigator, Jon Weetman, who is Administrator of Operations and Small Business Development. The navigator represents a starting point for businesses to contact for initial resource planning to address issues like how to start and grow a business, or how to write a marketing or business plan. The next step is a referral to the specific partner agency which can provide detailed answers to such concerns.

Amy Wallace of the Maryland Small Business and Technology Development Center provides free one-on-one business development assistance which includes customized business counseling. Wallace also has knowledge of the local lending community and what types of loans are available. The county has created a small business loan fund that is comprised of $1 million. Of that total, $500,000 is a state grant and $500,000 is matching county funds. Wallace directs small businesses to this financial resource as appropriate.

Carroll County Chamber of Commerce President Mike McMullin works to provide access to local networking events and discounted membership to the Chamber for small businesses.
Carroll Technology Council, the newest partner, plans to provide mentoring about the use of business technology.

Small businesses which have used the services of the Carroll Business Path include restaurants, retailers, and home-based operations. The Miller Center for Small Business offers paths to business success for all start-ups and entrepreneurs, existing business owners, and business professionals and employees.

“Generally speaking, business owners want to learn about issues which matter to them: legal topics, insurance, planning and marketing. The Miller Center for Small Business addresses all of this and more, in conjunction with the Carroll Business Path partners,” said Titus. “That is pretty impressive for a joint effort that has been in existence for about a year now.”

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