Local Small Business Development Center wins SBA AwardWritten by Duane Ramsey | | firstname.lastname@example.org
The Ohio Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at the Toledo Regional Chamber of Commerce received the 2011 Small Business Development Center Excellence and Innovation Award at a special presentation May 19.
The Toledo SBDC was recognized as the top center in SBA Region 5 which covers six Midwestern states.
The SBA Excellence and Innovation Award recognizes SBDC centers that exhibit leadership, as well as those that further develop, champion and foster innovation. The Toledo office was recognized for a number of innovations, most notably its “triage” services to distressed businesses in the wake of the recent economic downturn.
“The economic health of a region is directly tied to the health of its small business community,” Bill Wersell, SBDC Director in Toledo, said after accepting the award from Gil Goldberg, district director for Cleveland District office of the SBA.
“We focus on helping business owners understand the financial life of their business and how the money flows through it. Lending is based on cash flow forecasting and most businesses aren’t geared to providing that kind of information. We educate them on the cash flow of their business so they can understand it,” Wersell explained.
The Howard Moriarty Company of Toledo is one local business that has benefited from the services of the SBDC. Faced with declining sales as the economy worsened, the construction supply rental company began working with the SBDC on the development of new markets and negotiations with the client’s bank.
“The SBDC helped us make tough choices and gave us the confidence and ability to do what needs to be done in difficult situations, said Patrick Moriarty, co-owner of the fourth-generation, family-owned business.
“The SBDC helped us cut costs, restructure our operations, and implement a new marketing plan. They also helped us negotiate a significant concession from the bank, resulting in a 40 percent savings in our financial overhead,” Moriarty said.
“Huntington Bank was cooperative and willing to work with Moriarty to improve their financial situation and the bank is pleased with the results,” Wersell said.
“We’ve had success working with every bank in the area to help struggling businesses. Banks are willing to work with customers who have a plan. We help clients develop a plan to make it work.”
The family business began in 1908 when Thomas Moriarty founded Moriarty Machinery in Toledo. His son, Howard, started the Howard T. Moriarty Company in 1949.
Howard’s son, James, Sr., joined the business in the 1950s. He bought the name and rights to Moriarty Machinery in 1982 to avoid confusion between the similarly named businesses.
Today, Jim and his sons, James, Jr. and Patrick, operate the business as co-owners.
The company rents, sells and services construction equipment, and sells supplies with an experienced staff of professionals who help them operate the business, said Patrick.
Smitty’s Automotive and RV Repair Service is another area company that has worked with the SBDC to refocus its business.
“We helped them look at their expenses and revenues and come up with a plan to reduce their debt. We worked with Fifth Third Bank to develop a plan for their customers,” Wersell said.
The SBDC was able to simplify things and actually make my business run better, easier and more profitably, so it was a great match, according to Roger Kwapich, owner of Smitty’s Automotive with three locations in Toledo and Sylvania.
“The plan is really working for us and we’re grateful to the people at SBDC for their help,” Kwapich said. “They’re the best-kept secret in the area.”
Smitty’s provides professional automotive repair and service on virtually all domestic and foreign brands and models of cars, trucks, vans and other vehicles. It specializes in the service and repair of motor homes and recreational vehicles.
The company has provided auto repair service in the Toledo area for more than 50 years with an experienced staff of ASE certified technicians, several master technicians and two World Certified Technicians.
Toledo Chamber to get $320,000 in funding for internships from Ohio Third Frontier
The Toledo Regional Chamber of Commerce was among several recipients of nearly $2 million in funding recommended for the Ohio Third Frontier Internship Program announced May 24.
The Ohio Third Frontier Internship Program links college students with Ohio for-profit companies that are commercializing new products, technologies, and processes. The awards are contingent upon State Controlling Board approval.
Toledo Regional Chamber of Commerce was awarded $320,000 for the program in collaboration with the Lima/Allen County Chamber of Commerce, University of Toledo, Bowling Green State University, Rhodes State College, SSOE Inc, Minster Machine Company, GEM Inc., Dmytryka Jacobs Engineers, Inc., and Rudolph Libbe Inc. The awarded organizations will administer the program for their respective region.
The goals of the Ohio Third Frontier Internship Program are to contribute to the expansion of a technologically proficient workforce and to retain highly knowledgeable and talented students in Ohio through employment at for-profit companies in the state, according to the Department of Development.
The Ohio Third Frontier Internship Program targets key areas of science and technology, engineering and math relating to its focus areas of advanced materials and energy; biomedical, instruments, controls, and electronics; advanced propulsion; and information technology.