Fairmont Encouraging Homegrown Businesses

Friday, September 07, 2018

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Business recruitment is a common, traditional approach used to spur economic growth. Cities offer companies tax breaks and other financial incentives to attract them to an area.

While it’s true that the right company can bring a significant number of jobs and have a dramatic impact on a region, residents of small towns have learned hard lessons about depending on one company or even one industry to lift their economies.

In more recent years, economic development leaders have been using a wider array of tactics to encourage growth and build a diverse business base. Business recruitment is still an objective. But it’s not the only one.

Instead of always looking outward for growth opportunities, the idea is to look inward. There is powerful business potential located within every community. Two out of three new private-sector jobs in the United States since the Great Recession were created by small businesses.

Small businesses can have a big impact. It’s just a matter of taking the right steps to empower entrepreneurs.

The Fairmont Economic Development Authority (FEDA) uses a comprehensive approach to facilitate economic development. Because new and existing businesses can thrive if given the right tools and resources. FEDA consults with area businesses and has programs to assist them.

FEDA has micro loan funds to assist startups as well as tax increment financing for companies looking to expand. FEDA’s revolving loan program helps new or existing businesses bridge common financing gaps with a reduced interest rate loan that can be used to purchase real estate, equipment and inventory. Companies like Fairmont Butcher Block have benefited from such funds.

Encouraging entrepreneurs at the local level can have ripple effects not just on the economy but on the community as a whole. Studies have shown that independently owned, local businesses return more money to the communities in which they operate.

In addition, entrepreneurs that choose to live in a community are a wonderful resource. They can be called upon for leadership and mentoring. Since they’re connected with the community, they’re likely to support it in other ways, such as through volunteerism and philanthropic gestures.

Seeing one person’s success as a business owner can help inspire others and spark innovation, which makes homegrown entrepreneurs a wonderful source of community pride and self determination.

“We’re thrilled to see a strong culture of local entrepreneurship growing in Fairmont,” says Linsey Preuss, Fairmont’s economic development coordinator. “We will do whatever we can to facilitate that because thriving small businesses help us create a vibrant community.”

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