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Hamilton County launches Small Business Office with networking, education event

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Posted at 6:37 PM, May 22, 2023

SHARONVILLE, Ohio — Hamilton County leaders are hoping to give small business owners a boost with the new Office of Small Business and Monday's Small Business Day event.

Rather than small businesses setting up booths at the event, the tables were full of resources like grant applications and business plan development.

"Some people are coming who want to start a small business. We have a zone for them to help them start a small business and how to do your business plan," said Hamilton County Commission President, Alicia Reece. "Then there's others coming in, saying 'Wait a minute, I've been in business for years, I need some access to capital.'"

The event also featured panels and workshops as well as networking. Some of the organizations involved include local chambers of commerce, the U.S. Small Business Association and the Minority Business Assistance Center.

"Coming out of, on the backside of COVID, how we need to position our county as the number one county for small businesses," Reece said.

Hamilton County said there were nearly 1,000 small business owners, entrepreneurs and area representatives at the event. One of those owners was Steven Easley, who owns the production company Easley Blessed Media.

Easley is an Army veteran who decided on this new career while serving in Iraq.

"We had a bad night and I made it back to base and I was chatting with my wife and said, 'If I make it home, I'm going to do what I love every day,'" he said.

After 17 years, Easley said there have been a lot of ups and downs, including the COVID-19 pandemic.

"In 17 years you learn how to be prepared," he said.

Even for Easley, this event offered something new.

"I've never been at a conference that had so much, so easily accessible to you at every level," he said.

Also in attendance were owners from local salons and spas, coaching services and even retirement service companies. The owner of Retirement Partners, April Pope, said the event made accessing resources easier.

"We know Hamilton County has stuff, the city has stuff, the state has stuff so you can walk in this huge room and you see all of the things that you've heard about in one place, it's not as intimidating because you don't think, 'Was I supposed to do this, was I supposed to do that?' You can go to all of them," said Pope.

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