V’Soske: 2014 will bring an increase in access to small-business capitalWritten by Mark A. V'Soske | | firstname.lastname@example.org
The Toledo Regional Chamber of Commerce, a private association of local businesses, invests its energies in work that will improve and grow the economic climate in the region, enabling business growth and expansion and ultimately a resulting growth in jobs. The Chamber, in collaboration with its members, engages in many critical issues, including economic development, quality of life and legislation directly impacting business.
2014 brings with it further increases in access to capital for small businesses. Over the past few years, business capital and credit have slowly increased in availability for businesses that have positioned themselves properly. This signals an opportunity for companies to grow, expand and hire.
The small business growth outlook looks positive, with numbers trending up. In the fourth quarter of 2013 alone, the U.S. Small Business Administration district office in Cleveland reported 45 businesses accessed more than $20 million in growth loans. This is more than double the amount accessed two years ago. Businesses that are able to report positive cash flow have had fewer problems securing credit for growth, for working capital, for physical expansion and for increasing inventories.
Also, sales have been increasing, especially in auto-related industries. According to the Brookings Institution, exporting in the area has increased by more than 18 percent.
Affordable Care Act
All of this, however, is being tempered by the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. The implementation delays, changes to some of the provisions and overall complexity of the law have created an atmosphere of uncertainty for businesses. This sustained uncertainty continues to hold back hiring and has led to an adjustment in the makeup of the workforce between full- and part-time employees.
Until mid-2013, the Chamber was anticipating that at the federal level there would be a Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) process that could possibly impact the 180th Fighter Wing in 2015. While that BRAC process was ultimately delayed, there still are ongoing federal-level discussions about changes to the defense force structure that could impact the base in the future. Add to that the strong likelihood of a BRAC round in 2017 and the imperative exists for the community to maintain a constant relationship with Washington to ensure the ongoing vitality of this important regional asset.
The 180th’s impact is significant for the region, with more than 1,000 employees, a payroll of $49 million and an economic impact of $117 million! The Chamber and its partners will be working hard this year and through 2017 to not only secure the future of the installation, but make the case for possible expansion as well.
Creating awareness of the Toledo region through the ToledoRegion.com website has been and continues to be an important branding strategy, one that continues to grow in recognition as it positively impacts perceptions about the region.
For 2014, ToledoRegion.com is launching a new phase that will build upon the successes of the past year with a new generation of emerging, positive thinkers creating grassroots efforts to promote the city and region — efforts such as You Will Do Better in Toledo, Smash Toledo, Circle 2445 and StartUp Toledo. Going forward, the focus will be on an organic balanced promotion of economic development and quality of life in the Toledo Region.
Visit www.ToledoRegion.com and become an engaged part of this great region.
Mark A. V’Soske is president of the Toledo Regional Chamber of Commerce. Email at email@example.com.
Tags: 180th FIghter Wing, Affordable Care Act, Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC), Circle 2445, Cleveland, growth loans, Smash Toledo, Startup Toledo, The Toledo Regional Chamber of Commerce, U.S. Small Business Administration, working capital, You Will Do Better in Toledo