The CDC Specializes in helping Small Business
Written by: Jennifer Harker, The Huronia Business Times
Technology is changing the way the World does business and the Orillia Area Community Development Corporation is tackling fresh topics and using new tools to provide on-going training to local business.
OACDC General Manager, Wendy Timpano says: "Over the last year and a half, we have worked closely with a number of organizaitons and partnered to develop a professional development series for small business."
She said they took the results from a number of surveys to determine need and partnered with local organizations, such as the manufacturers association, chambers of commerce and the workforce development board, to assess the needs of their members.
"There were a few areas that stood out with key topics including marketing, social media, succession planning and financials such as reading financial statements. And we're trying to meet those needs."
Last April, CDC offered a small-business-basics series focusing on start up information, basic financials and how to develop a marketing plan. They also hired speakers and consulltants to deliver information on social media, succession planning and export opportunities.
Courses are on-going and include two up-coming sessions. March 6 will focus on the importance of a marketing plan and on March 13 & 14 the OACDC has partnered with Georgian College to offer first aid and CPR training. "We try to offer courses and training for small business owners and support small business owners by training employees in varous area."
One convenient and cost-effective way is to deliver information on-line with e-learning opportunities where users set their own pace to access videos and on-line tools.
"We're finding people are busy and to attend seminars can be difficult to work into their schedule so we've developed other ways of learning," Timpano said. " A number of people prefer face-to-face but are open to the idea of on-line learning. It's very convenient and people are more comfortable with this style of learning today. We are keeping up with the changing needs of business."
While they have offered business training courses through the Community Futures Development Institute on-line website, she said they are now also offering a more interactive program called Small Business Solver.
By coming to the CDC Timpano said users enjoy significant savings. To access Small Business Solver individually costs $249 per year, but through the CDC it costs $50 for the year.
Whether you are looking to develop a business plan and start a new venture or expand an existing business by developing strategies to explore new markets, help is available.
Timpano invites entrepreneurs to visit the CDC at 22 Peter Street South in Orillia, to see the range of courses and which on-line platform best suits their needs.
"We encourage small business to come in for a consultation, which is free. We can sit down with them and walk them through the website."
She said they will have a good understanding of what's offered after the initial meeting and then further training can be conveniently conducted on their own time at home or at their business.