Creating the Future Economy
While the vast majority of new jobs will be created from existing firms as they expand, virtually each business started from a single idea unaccompanied with a workforce, corporate structure, or capital investment. The City of Wooster and its economic development partners work to provide resources for our future business leaders.
SCORE, the Senior Corp of Retired Executives, is a business mentoring and education organization serving Wayne County. The Akron branch, among the largest in Ohio, offers the expertise of +80 volunteers who have either owned a successful small business or held an executive leadership position. In addition to free education courses, some taught at the Wayne County Library and others at the University of Akron, the organization offers free one-on-one mentoring for those working to create a business plan, explore an idea, or market a service or product. Entrepreneurs should visit https://akron.score.org/, or contact 330.379.3163.
SBDC, the Small Business Development Center, is a State-funded program to assist small businesses as they start-up or seek to expand. As with SCORE, Ohio’s SBDC offers help through a network of expert business mentors, but also provides support to businesses seeking to secure loans with the Small Businesses Administration, as well as guidance on international markets. The SBDC at Kent State University at Stark serves Wooster area businesses and is available at 330.244.3290, or online at http://www.cantonsbdc.org/.
For small businesses seeking help with credit, ECDI, the Economic and Community Development Institute, is a 501c3 non-profit economic development organization focused on filling financing gaps for small business projects. ECDI provides training and technical assistance through programs such as its Growing Entrepreneurs Initiative and Business Incubation Program. It also offers lending to small businesses starting up or expanding when conventional bank loans are not a possibility due to insufficient credit history, collateral, or business experience. While ECDI is not able to fund real estate acquisition of construction, it is able to help businesses purchase equipment, inventory, and machinery supplies. To learn more, entrepreneurs should visit www.ecdi.org or contact 330.888.3119 (Akron Office).
JumpStart Entrepreneurial Network is Northeast Ohio’s nonprofit venture development organization that provides assistance to technology-oriented business start-ups, including help with tech-focused mentoring. The organization, which has partnered with Wooster and other communities on entrepreneurial programs, also provides a suite of online tools, which may be found at www.jumpstartinc.org. Those seeking assistance may also call 216.363.3400.
The Wooster Opportunity Loan Fund is a local loan program for technology-oriented start-ups, including inventors, information technology developers, and manufacturers creating proprietary products. These types of firms may apply to WOLF for prime-rate loans with payments deferred for five years. The program is funded through the Wooster Growth Corporation, Wooster Community Hospital, Cascade Capital, and the Wooster Area Chamber of Commerce, with support from JumpStart. Contact Wooster Growth at 330.263.5250 if you are interested in submitting an application.
The Wooster Area Chamber of Commerce offers excellent networking and educational opportunities for entrepreneurs, in addition to access to local economic data and research, as well as area business connections. With its opportunities for collaboration and dedication to helping to foster new and emerging small businesses, the Wooster Area Chamber is a highly recommended resource for any aspiring business owner. Learn more at www.woosterchamber.com or contact 330.262.5735.
Ohio Secretary of State
US Patent Office
Ohio Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Program
City of Wooster | Development: 538 N. Market Street, Wooster, Ohio 44691. Phone: 330.263.5250. Email: Jmillea@woosteroh.com