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New chamber committee will help businesses start strong

August 17th, 2007 · No Comments

The Greater Mount Airy Chamber of Commerce’s new Business Development Committee will steer prospective business owners toward programs, organizations and other resources that can help them start and develop a company.

Dr. George Sappenfield, the new committee’s chairman and the chamber’s vice-chair for business development, said the chamber started the committee because many chamber members said they could have used similar resources when they started their own companies.

Surry Community College’s Small Business Center and the Service Corps of Retired Executives Association (SCORE) will work with the committee and prospective business owners.

Dennis Lowe, SCC’s Small Business Center director, said people starting businesses often face similar obstacles.
“Questions I’ll get relate to regulatory issues. ‘How do I find out about zoning? Do I have to be licensed to do this?'” Lowe told The Mount Airy News. “There are a lot of inquiries about business plans.”

Stephen Yokeley, a retired dentist, said he joined the BDC because he believes more should have been done in the past to draw new business to Surry County and to strengthen existing companies. Yokeley said the BDC would have been a “fantastic resource” when he began his dental practice in 1974.

Tonda Hall said the committee members include small business owners, corporate administrators and former executives. She herself manages a local Allstate Insurance office, Hall and Associates Real Estate and Homeland Mortgage LLC. Dr. Sappenfield is Surry Community College’s associate vice president for the Division of Continuing and Corporate Education.

Hall said they and the other committee members should be able to field a variety of questions for local entrepreneurs.

“Have you found a need that you don’t know how to fill, or where to start? That’s what we’re looking to the public to tell us,” she said.

Sappenfield said the Business Development Committee’s next meeting will be on Sept. 6, time and place to be announced.

Tags: Businesses · Economic development

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