Office Hours Available To Assist Small Businesses At Meriden City Hall

by Molly Callahan | Jan. 11, 2016

MERIDEN — In an effort to help local small businesses get started or expand, a state agency has taken up residency in City Hall for weekly office hours.

A representative from the Connecticut Small Business Development Center is available every Tuesday to offer advice and services to those looking to start a small business.

The city’s economic development director, Juliet Burdelski, said the group will work with her department to offer a wider range of services to potential business owners.

“We have a lot of leads coming into our office,” she said. “We have our own resources we can offer, but they’re more experts on how to tap into state programs. This just brings in more resources and more expertise.”

The SBDC provides services to business owners throughout the lifespan of the business. It’s funded through various groups including the U.S. Small Business Administration, the state Department of Economic and Community Development, and the University of Connecticut.

Jodi Coombs, marketing and communications manager, said the SBDC already operates in some capacity in more than 50 municipalities.

This is the first in-person office hours for the organization in Meriden.

“Shelly is working with the small businesses in Meriden, and she tells me it’s growing like wildfire. She’s met with some really terrific people and she’s excited to be there,” Coombs said of Michelle Koehler, SBDC business adviser.

The agency connects would-be small-business owners to funding sources, whether state grants or private loans. Coombs said in the last fiscal year, the organization raised $41 million for its clients.

The group can also connect businesses to competitive market analysis data, or to software programs that make bookkeeping more streamlined. The local SBDC has been active for just over two years, but is part of a national small business development organization that was created 35 years ago.

“We’ve been around just long enough now that we’re helping people move on to the next phase of their business plan. We’ve helped them with their initial goals, and now they’re ready for the next step,” Coombs said.

Burdelski said the economic development office has seen a steady stream of people interested in opening small businesses recently.

“We’ve been pretty busy. I think that because the economy has been steady, people are starting again to look at opening a small business. It helps to have another person here working with us; we’re working with folks pretty consistently,” she said.

Koehler began holding office hours at City Hall at the end of 2015.

The SBDC office hours are Tuesdays from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. in Room 134.

Originally posted at http://www.myrecordjournal.com/meriden/meridennews/8265319-129/office-hours-available-to-assist-small-businesses-at-meriden-city.html by Molly Callahan in My Record Journal, “Office Hours Available To Assist Small Businesses At Meriden City Hall”. Published on Jan. 11, 2016, Accessed on Jan. 19, 2016.

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