Employers Attend Small Business Financing Seminar

Posted on: March 19, 2024

As a small business owner, securing adequate financing stands as a cornerstone for success. Whether launching a startup, expanding an existing venture, or weathering economic uncertainties, entrepreneurs are often faced with challenges of accessing capital. Fortunately, there are a number of financing options that exist to meet the diverse needs of small businesses. But not everyone knows where to look or where to start.

On Wednesday, March 13, the Oak Harbor Area Chamber of Commerce, and the Ottawa County Improvement Corporation hosted a financing seminar titled “I’m just here for the money and food” which welcomed speakers from Regional Growth Partnership, Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority and the Small Business Development Center.

Valerie Winterfield, Oak Harbor Chamber, and Jessica Grzechowiak, OCIC, pose for a photo.

Miranda Hoffman, Director of the Ohio Small Business Development Center at Terra State Community College, spoke to attendees about how the SBDC is designed to link resources to meet the diverse needs of small businesses, including federal legislation updates. Miranda spoke about the Corporate Transparency Act and its beneficial ownership reporting requirement for corporations, limited liability companies, and other similar entities.

“Whether you are a new or existing business, if you registered prior to January 2024 you will have until January 2025 to comply with the Corporate Transparency Act,” stated Hoffman. “It does come with civil and criminal penalties, so I really want to make sure businesses are aware of that. It’s such an important topic and we really want to make sure that businesses are aware.”

From traditional bank loans and government-backed programs to alternative funding sources, entrepreneurs have a spectrum of choices to fuel their aspirations.

Dana Clark, Craig Teamer, and Jason Bartschy of the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority provided detailed information about their Bond Programs such as the Northwest Ohio Bond Fund, Infrastructure Financing, and Capital Lease Transactions, as well as the Ohio Regional 166 and SBA 504 loan programs. Another was the BetterBuildings Northwest Ohio (BBNWO) energy efficiency Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing program.

Dana Clark, PACE Administrator for Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority, speaks on the Better Buildings NW OH program.

“This program offers competitive fixed-rate financing for projects that focus on conserving energy,” stated Clark. “Eligible energy efficiency improvements for all types and sizes of buildings can be financed though PACE, including HVAC, power generation, refrigeration, and solar, geothermal and wind systems.”

Chase Eikenbary, Vice President of Project Manager for Regional Growth Partnership, spoke specifically about the JobsOhio Inclusion Grant. The grant recognizes that distressed communities may benefit from investments and job creation on a smaller scale than communities that experience higher levels of corporate investment on a regular basis. The grant ranges from $25K-$50K depending on eligibility criteria.

“If your business falls within a distressed ZIP Code or are a business owner of a under-represented population, lets talk,” stated Eikenbary. “We can’t focus on restaurants but we can focus on service-based businesses. For example, if the majority of your sales are Business-to-Business, that is a great qualifier.”

Chase Eikenbary, Vice President of Project Manager for Regional Growth Partnership, speaks on the Inclusion Grant.

There are several other requirements that must be met prior to completing the JobsOhio Intake Form and that is something OCIC and Regional Growth Partnership can assist businesses with. A handful of Ottawa County businesses have already taken advantage of the Inclusion Grant investing in machine and equipment. “If you have 10 employees, we ask that you commit to 1 new full-time employee – just a 10% job creation commitment.”

Shawna and Mike Shadoan, owners of Radiant Windows, were happy to have attended this seminar.

“There was a lot more information than I expected,” stated Shawna Shadoan. “I was happy to see what’s out there because I don’t think its publicized enough. I like that this included all funding options for businesses and the fact that it was short, sweet and to the point.”

Attendees observe and listen during the financing seminar hosted by the Oak Harbor Chamber and OCIC.

The chamber and OCIC want the business community to be aware of all the funding and resources available.

“Each (funding) option carries its unique advantages and considerations,” stated Jessica Grzechowiak, OCIC Manager of Communications & Programs. “Knowing their options empowers small business owners to tailor their financing strategies to match their vision and growth.”

“Empowering businesses to bridge the gap between opportunity and capital is like unlocking a door to endless possibilities. In a world flooded with information, the chamber was excited to  collaborate with OCIC in hosting this informative seminar,” stated Valerie Winterfield, Oak Harbor Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director.

For more information about the Oak Harbor Area Chamber of Commerce visit www.oakharborohio.net. For more information about the OCIC visit www.ocic.biz.