LIMA — Small businesses make up 944,797 of the jobs in Ohio and they account for 99.6 percent of all Ohio businesses, said Kathy Keller, director of the Small Business Development Center at Rhodes State College.
The center is a non-profit organization grant funded through the Small Business Administration and Ohio Developmental Services. The organization helps entrepreneurs with tasks like starting their business, writing business plans and working on cash flow projections.
The organization also helps existing business who are looking to diversify, expand and learn what it takes to move in a larger space, said Keller.
The center has been housed out of Rhodes State College for 32 years. The college has matched the money that the center is granted, which has allowed the organization to provide services to 18 counties in Northwest Ohio.
“We get people prepared to go to the lending institutions,” said Keller. “We very much appreciate the lending institutions, the chamber of commerce and local economic development groups in our area,” said Keller during Real American Sunrise Friday at Veterans Memorial Civic Center. “We welcome referrals because we are grant funded and we are one of the best-kept secrets in Lima. We are always looking to assist small businesses any way we can.”
Keller said a business is considered “small” if it has 500 or fewer employees.
Only 66 percent of small businesses will last two years, 50 percent will last five years and 20 percent will last 20 years, said Keller.
“It is truly a survival of the fittest,” said Keller. “So when we see our local businesses celebrating 20 years in business, 25 and more, that truly is an accomplishment. They have certainly done something right.”
In 2015, there were 2.2 million people employed by small businesses in 2015. A total of 46 percent of the private workforce is made up by small business employees. There were 2.2 percent more proprietors in 2016 than in 2015, said Keller.
When Ohioans shop at chain retailers, 13.6 percent of the company’s revenue is recirculated in the community; whereas, 48 percent of an independent retailer’s revenue is recirculated in the community, said Keller.
When Ohioans shop at chain restaurants, 34.5 percent of the company’s revenue is recirculated in the community; whereas, 65.4 percent of an independent restaurant’s revenue is recirculated in the community.
“It’s all about economic vitality, so let’s shop locally,” said Keller. “As we enter this holiday season — I want to let you know that there is about 62 days left before the Christmas holiday. Let’s make sure to shop small and shop local.”
Reach Camri Nelson at 567-242-0456 or on Twitter @CamriNews