Federal agency offers support to local businesses

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By Jarred Meeks

A federal agency official said there always will be more opportunities for local businesses, especially with some help, at the June 18 Zionsville Chamber of Commerce Business Breakfast.

Laura Schafsnitz, public affairs specialist at the Indiana district office of The U.S. Small Business Administration, presents information that could help local businesses at a June 18 Zionsville Chamber of Commerce breakfast meeting. (Photo by Jarred Meeks)

Laura Schafsnitz, public affairs specialist at the Indiana district office of the U.S. Small Business Administration, provided Zionsville community members and small business owners to information about how they can receive assistance from the administration at the breakfast.

“Whether they’ve worked with us in the past, whether they want to work with us in the future, we are there for small businesses for the life cycle of their business,” Schafsnitz said. “We are going to point you in the right direction of resources that are going to be available to you.”

The administration provides SBA-backed loans, access to private investors, research and development awarded funds, surety bonds and other forms of investment for small businesses. The administration also has resource partners across the state, which are free to small businesses with select exceptions, Schafsnitz said.

One of the partners, Women’s Entrepreneurial Opportunity Center, is available for aspiring or women small business owners looking for comprehensive training, counseling and business advice.

Another group, Veterans Business Outreach Centers, specializes in assisting veterans with counseling, transition assistance and training and advice in an attempt to ease more veterans into successful lives after their military service.

Federal contract opportunities are an additional untapped resource for many small businesses, Schafsnitz said, adding that the federal government is the No. 1 consumer of local business products and services, an underutilized revenue stream for many small businesses.

Jerry Miser, chief lending officer at State Bank of Lizton, said the administration’s programs “allow us to compete with larger banks.”

The State Bank of Lizton holds more than $500 million in assets, operates locally, and with the help of the administration, Miser said, it “can do a lot of the same deals that multi-million-dollar New York City banks that have local offices can do.”

For more on future chamber events, visit zionsvillechamber.org.

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