Updates from the June Focus on Business Lunch
Paul Toth, President and CEO of the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority, focused on microlending in Northwest Ohio. In January, the Port Authority partnered with ECDI and established the Toledo Microenterprise Development Initiative to extend ECDI’s ability to provide microloans in the Toledo Region. ECDI is a non-profit firm that helps entrepreneurs acquire financing for projects that would be denied by the bank. Much more than cutting a check, microlending is more personal where experts will come in to the business receiving the loan each week to make sure that things are going well and certain benchmarks are being met.
“The single most effective way to reduce poverty in a community is through the support of entrepreneurism.” – The Fund For Our Economic Future
Colleen Kardasz, Director of the Ohio SBDC Export Assistance Network, shared information about her recent trip to Hannover Messe with the Ohio Delegation. She shared her thoughts the importance of overseas networking and stories that portrayed the success of the trip.
Col. Baker captured the attention of the audience by wearing a flight suit, something he shared he will not be able to do as much when he transfers to Washington D.C. next month. He discussed the mission of the 180th Fighter Wing, the Toledo Air Show, and ongoing operations at the base. The mission of the Air National Guard is broken down into federal, state and community missions. Said Col. Baker, “We provide for America.”
The Air National Guard composition across the country is 30% full time / 70% drill status, however, on the 180th base specifically, the composition is 45% full time / 55% drill status. The reason for this is the Federal Mission at the 180th. Called the Alert Mission, the 180th protects 60% of the American population and is on call 24/7, 365 days per year. He also shared that if he gets “the call,” the airmen must prepared to go overseas within 72 hours.
Stateside, the 180th plays an important role in responding to emergencies in Ohio. They must respond within 4 hours and sustain that response for 72 hours. Both the Federal and State missions are critical to the protection of American citizens, and the community plays an important role in supporting the airmen and women that protect us. Over half of the employees at the base are “drill status,” which means they also have jobs in the community. When they need to respond, it is crucial that they have the support of their family, employers and the community. Col. Baker shared that the airmen are the community. They grew up here, they live here, and they raise their families here.
“The 180th wouldn’t exist if it wasn’t for you and the support of the community.” – Col. Baker
Thank you to all of our speakers for sharing your extensive knowledge with our members. The next Focus on Business Lunch will be in August, we look forward to seeing you there!