Small business owners were shown the light Tuesday at the Columbia County Chamber of Commerce's inaugural Small Business and Entrepreneur Resource Fair.
That light illuminated resources available to entrepreneurs to help develop their small businesses.
Karen Chrjapin, the executive director of the chamber, said the fair, held at the Columbia County Board of Education office in Evans, was designed to let business owners learn about agencies that can provide assistance.
The fair included speakers from several state agencies specializing in small business and entrepreneur assistance including OneGeorgia, the Medical College of Georgia, the Georgia Department of Community Affairs, the University of Georgia's Small Business Development Center and the Georgia Institute of Technology's Enterprise Innovation Institute.
More than 90 percent of Columbia County's 4,110 businesses are small businesses with fewer than 19 employees, said Adella Kelly, a regional marketing manager for the Georgia Department of Economic Development's Small Business Division.
Kelly said Gov. Sonny Perdue created her department to help the state's small businesses succeed.
Louis Brentnell, the owner of Wonderdog Ltd. in Harlem, said his business is expanding and he recently consulted with Kelly about the direction of his business growth.
Elliott Price, of the Enterprise Innovation Institute, told the audience of business owners and entrepreneurs that they need to think innovative to be competitive.
"It is a very volatile environment out there, and the success of small businesses, unfortunately, is very small," Price said. "We want you all to be successful."
Chrjapin said the fair also is one step toward the chamber's 2007 goal - gaining the state's "Entrepreneur Friendly" designation.
The program, endorsed by Perdue, urges small-business development in each of the 10 regions and 159 counties.
The program places special emphasis on companies with fewer than 20 employees that are innovators in such fields as aerospace, agribusiness, manufacturing, health care, telecommunications and homeland security.
For anyone who wants more information about small business development resources, contact the chamber at (706) 651-0018.
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