Entrepreneurship important to our area’s growth

Business and government leaders at every level continue to search for ways to reverse the trend of slow economic growth that exists in many parts of the world, including Tiffin and Seneca County. Most economic forecasters predict slow growth for the near future across the country.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Seneca County’s unemployment rate was 6.7 percent in December 2012, a decrease since it peaked at more than 14 percent in early 2010, and ranks it roughly in the middle of Ohio’s 88 counties. But for those not working or those whose jobs are unstable, there is a need to look for longer-term solutions.

Most new, private-sector jobs in the U.S. are being created by new businesses. Since 1985, new businesses have accounted for more jobs than established private sector firms, according to the Kaufmann Foundation, an entrepreneurship think tank.

There is a plethora of academic studies that link economic development to cities and communities that encourage entrepreneurial activity. Silicon Valley in California and Austin, Texas, are examples of cities where innovative entrepreneurship are driving local economies. Closer, Ann Arbor, Mich. often makes many of the lists of cities that encourage entrepreneurial activities.

Entrepreneur is the name commonly used for those who own their own business.

Entrepreneurship typically is associated with those who start new businesses. The term is defined as anyone who takes risks and includes those who take risks within an organization who are often referred to as “intrapreneurs.”

Successful intrapreneurs take innovative ideas and turn them into profitable products or processes for their organizations.

Organizations are recognizing that to succeed in today’s competitive environment, they need to take risks when it comes to introducing products, processes and locations to their businesses.

The future growth of any area can be tied to creating an environment that encourages and provides resources to help entrepreneurs, those starting businesses and those already in business, to succeed.

Fortunately. in Seneca County there are a number of organizations and people available to help entrepreneurs.

The Seneca Regional Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Services provides assistance to those who want to start new businesses. The chamber hosts free, monthly two-hour seminars put on by the Ohio Small Business Development Center that cover a variety of topics of interest to new and small businesses, according to Chamber President John Detwiler.

Bill Auxter is director of the Ohio Small Business Development Center at Terra State Community College. Recent seminars included sessions conducted on small business basics and funding a small business.

Seneca Industrial & Economic Development Corp. is another Tiffin nonprofit group whose mission is to promote business development and economic

expansion in Tiffin and the county.

According to SIEDC’s web page, it promotes new business and the development and expansion of current businesses in Tiffin, Seneca County and all of northwest Ohio.

Tiffin and Heidelberg universities have schools of business staffed by faculty members who have a variety of experiences in every aspect of business. Many of these faculty members are able and willing to provide consulting services.

This is the first of a series of monthly columns that will discuss topics of interest to entrepreneurs in the area.

Contact me at (419) 448-3350 or haanpc@tiffin.edu with ideas.