Montgomery County’s new Business Solutions Center has only been open since October but is already proving to be popular among area businesses and entrepreneurs, said David Snipes, manager of the center.
“Over 100 businesses have been through our door,” Snipes said. “We think of it as a business concierge type service.”
It’s designed to be a one-stop-shop for businesses and entrepreneurs to be directed to resources, services and information, get training for employees or to use conference room facilities for meetings and programs.
“I think it’s important to streamline and make it easier for companies to do business and to have a place where we collectively can show our strength in economic development, especially when we are recruiting other businesses,” said Linda Ashworth, vice president of operations at the Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce.
The chamber, which is one of multiple partners involved in the center, can help new businesses make the transition to the community or help existing businesses find solutions on purchasing programs and connect with customers and resources, Ashworth said.
“I think it’s a really innovative way to help businesses, similarly when the county was very innovative in putting together the Jobs Center,” Ashworth said.
The Business Solutions Center is located at 1435 Cincinnati St. Suite 3000, Dayton. Its services are free, although some things such as college courses offered by partners Sinclair College and Wright State University, may have fees said Snipes.
Sinclair spokesman Adam Murka said the college offers custom training to businesses. For example, one of the toughest transitions for an employee entering management is going from being a peer to a supervisor, so Sinclair offers tactical training on how to make that switch.
“We can craft training to the specific industry,” Murka said.
A variety of funding sources, including U.S. Department of Labor grants, cover programming while Montgomery County commissioners provide the approximately $300,000 a year needed to cover the building lease and 5 staffers, Snipes said. Partners Sinclair, Wright State and the Miami Valley Career Technology Center also have staff on site.
“We have our business development team in an office there,” Murka said.
Other partners include Business First! and Ohio Means Jobs. The decision was made to provide free services as a way to both retain existing businesses and bring in new ones, Snipes said. The center serves the wider region, not just Montgomery County.
“We want to grow and expand the workforce,” Snipes said. “The workforce doesn’t necessarily see county lines.”
Snipes said the Business Solutions Center has already hosted business and economic development round-tables and business courses, and advised entrepreneurs on local resources such as the Ohio Small Business Development Center at The Entrepreneurs Center in Dayton. The Business Solutions Center also helps businesses navigate government regulations and permitting, assists with workforce planning, and provides information on incentives, financial assistance and business networking.
“Employers don’t want to hunt and peck for solutions,” Murka said. “They just want what they want.”
Snipes said the Business Solutions Center supplements, but doesn’t replace what is already occurring at the county Job Center. The Job Center provides services to businesses, job hunters and employees.
But, said Snipes, “We wanted a place for business that is solely for business.”
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