If you need advice on how to grow your fledgling business, help filling out government forms or information from the Department of Labor and Industries, you will find it all in one place in the new Small Business Resource Center.
It's a kiosk computer, complete with internet access and a printer, said Ashley Bennington-Coronado, director of Small Business Programs for the Tri-City Regional Chamber of Commerce. You'll find it in the lobby of the regional chamber office, 7130 W. Grandridge Blvd., Kennewick.
And it's free to all members of the regional chamber in Benton and Franklin counties.
"We've bookmarked all the websites that would be of assistance to a small business," said Bennington-Coronado. "If they just need a form they don't have to go looking for it, just print it out right there."
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She's also gathered brochures and information from local business and put it at the kiosk.
"The whole idea was to provide entrepreneurs and existing businesses with easy access to start-up information, consultation services, educational opportunities, and connections to a network of nonprofit and government agencies offering business-building services," she said.
If what you need isn't there, make an appointment to visit with Bennington-Coronado.
"There are a great deal of resources available, but sometimes entrepreneurs aren't sure where to turn," said Bennington-Coronado. "Even if we don't have the answer to their question, we can direct them to the appropriate organization or website."
She said the regional chamber decided to create the kiosk because it was receiving a lot of phone calls from small businesses owners and it didn't have a person to field the calls.
"We were simply not meeting our members' needs. An employee with past business experience would take a lot of the calls, just because he's a nice guy," she said. "But we decided we needed to formalize our information a bit more."
"It was a niche not being met and we felt it was something we should be doing," said Bennington-Coronado.
On average, the regional chamber receives two to three calls daily from owners of small businesses. They come from dog groomers, accountants, painters and owners of bridal shops, archery stores and catering trucks.
"It's all over the board," she said.
Bennington-Coronado explained that the definition of a small business varies depending on the industry. They use a chart to match the industry to a code which tells them whether to look at the income generated by the business or the number of employees.
"If a manufacturer it's generally if they have 500 employees or less that makes them a small business. Most everything else is based on revenue," she said. "In this area 98 percent of the companies are small businesses unless they're out at Hanford."
The Small Business Resource Center can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 736-0510. It is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.