NORWICH – The Development Chenango Corporation (DCC), the business growth and development arm of Commerce Chenango, is on track to double the amount of small business inquiries it handles by the end of the year.
The DCC presented its latest figures to the Chenango County Planning and Development Committee in June. Nearly 30 individuals have sought help in starting a business since the beginning of the year, according to DCC administrators, surpassing the 27 individuals helped in all of 2021.
Commerce Chenango President Kerri Green largely credits DCC’s marketing and outreach efforts for the increased number of potential business owners. The DCC’s efforts to reach the community, she says, have been bolstered over the last two years and its efforts are starting to pay off.
“Even if the number of people we help don’t actually turn into a business, the more buzz the better because people who are looking to invest are thinking Chenango,” says Green. “I think another small part of it is that people are looking to invest. They’re seeing Chenango County as a place that supports business and growth.”
The DCC plays a large role in small business counsel. Entrepreneurs can tap into the agency’s resources to find available funding, get help on their business plan, and connect with other helpful organizations.
“That’s where our economic development team really shines,” Green said. “It’s about helping people understand the process and what they’re really trying to do, and how we can help them realistically.”
The DCC has also doled out several low-interest loans to several business owners, with the approval of its board of directors. In fact, the agency has allocated roughly $2 million in financial resources since 2020. Earlier this year, the agency greenlit a $68,000 loan to Hillcrest Lavender Farm in Sherburne for the construction of a new building; and a $25,000 loan was approved for another Sherburne business, Natural Beauty Breast Prosthesis, which makes prosthetic breasts for women receiving cancer treatments. That loan will help Natural Beauty to quadruple its staff over the next two years.
For business needs that need more help than the DCC offers, Green and her team turn to the Small Business Development Center in Binghamton. The SBDC services 12 counties in the region, including Chenango, by offering start-up assistance, business plan development, financial projections, marketing, business expansion and more. Since its inception in 1984, SBDC has helped clients raise more than $210.5 million in private and public funding and aided in the creation of roughly 11,000 jobs.
Green said the DCC will continue to bolster its efforts in the coming months. The agency has even started tracking a new metric this year that looks at the success rate of business hopefuls who have received the DCC’s help. Knowing this data may help the DCC improve their own efforts, Green added.
DCC is a nonprofit partner organization of Commerce Chenango. For more information, contact Commerce Chenango at (607) 334-1400 or visit commercechenango.com.