The ERC: Working for Your Business
“We find small business owners are always working in their business and not on their business.” So said President and CEO of California Manufacturing Technology Consulting (CMTC), James Watson at the Manufacturers Forum held recently at the Foothills Event Center. Convened by Nevada County Economic Resource Council, the live event brought a number of entrepreneurs together to share information around common needs, the overall health of the industry, and resources available to assist business owners in the manufacturing sector.
ERC Executive Director began the live forum with a brief presentation about the ERC itself – including the impetus to form the group 25 years ago to keep businesses operating successfully in Nevada County. After listing the diverse community members making up the board of directors, Mathew explained the organizations newly formed committee structure and the drive to provide resources to community industries in over a dozen identified sectors including the arts, banking, construction, health, hospitality nonprofits, real estate and to others before introducing Watson, who spoke to the group from Sacramento on a stream. Watson explained CMTC is a nonprofit tasked by the Department of Commerce working with small and medium sized manufacturers. Watson said, “No matter what the needs of a manufacturer are, we will find somebody who will take care of their needs.” Incentives are offered to make the services affordable and often at no cost. The nonprofit also funded a study of 21 rural counties and found Nevada County is not unique in the challenges brought by the need for skilled labor, worker retention, access to technology (primarily high-speed internet) and access to capital.
CMTC client advisor for Northern California, Kristina Chavez-Wyatt was on site to meet with attendees and described several programs available to manufacturing. “We come to you to identify your obstacles to growth and profitability.” CMTC is focused on helping owners “ideally hire more people and make more money.”
Addressing the need to secure capital, Leslie Williams of the Sierra Small Business Development Center let the group know of several programs the SBDC manages from grants to loans to application assistance. Williams also encouraged owners to apply for the Nevada County Relief Fund which has already disbursed nearly 1.5 million dollars in grants to area businesses.
Alliance for Work Force Development Business Service Representative, Phelan Burns, was on hand to explain some of the benefits AWD offers employers including a cost effective on the job training program, applicant screenings, lay off assistance and other employer resources.
Prior to concluding the program, Mathew gave attendees the opportunity to introduce themselves and to talk about their greatest need. Many discussed the desire to grow and expand and were happy to learn of the vast and variety of resources available to them.NCERC along with CMTC, SBDC and AWFD are working hard to help owners to work on their business to look ahead and to remain competitive. The entire presentation is available on the Nevada County ERC Facebook page and on the NC Tech Connection (an initiative of the ERC) YouTube Channel. For more information about the ERC or any of the programs mentioned click here to check out the ERC website.