Columbia County might soon become a friendlier place for entrepreneurs.
Adela Kelley, a regional manager for the Georgia Department of Economic Development, briefed Development Authority of Columbia County board members Wednesday on a state certification program designed to bolster small businesses and sponsor growth.
The state's "Entrepreneur Friendly" certification is a program championed by Gov. Sonny Perdue that encourages small-business development in each one of 10 state regions and 159 counties, Kelley said. Special emphasis is placed on companies with fewer than 19 employees and that are innovators in such fields as aerospace, agribusiness, manufacturing, health care, telecommunications and homeland security.
Kelley said the program serves to educate government and business leaders about other area businesses and government initiatives or grants that can help owners meet their specific needs.
Zack Daffin, the executive director of the Columbia County authority, said the initiative is a chance for member counties of the Clarks Hill Partnership to become more prosperous by learning the strengths of each county's business sector.
"The more we all know what we have, the better off we'll be," he said.
Kelley said retaining small businesses is a priority for a state in which 20 percent of all businesses have fewer than five employees.
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