The event, held at American Manufacturing, was hosted by the Toledo SBDC and the SBA. In addition to the 15 manufacturers in attendance, Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur, Gil Goldberg, Cleveland District Director of the SBA, Teresa Smith, Toledo Lucas County Port Authority, Jessica Ice, Research Analyst Federal Reserve, and staff of the Toledo SBDC and Toledo Regional Chamber of Commerce were in attendance.
A lively discussion followed lunch, and each attendee had the opportunity to share their challenges and successes, as well as seek advice from the group. Many shared that they are incredibly busy, and while busy is great for business, they all share the challenge of filling their workforce. The manufacturing industry as a whole has found that skilled trade workers are hard to find and that the time and cost that goes into screening new employees is staggering. This industry too, is feeling the impact of drug abuse in relation to filling the workforce.
“The discussion of the manufacturers in attendance all agreed the most pressing issues they have in finding new employees is not just training, but softer skills like 'coming to work on time every day' and being able to pass drug tests.” – Charlie Chambers, Lead Consultant, Toledo Small Business Development Center
Teresa Smith shared with the group that The Toledo Lucas County Port Authority has been offering innovative financing solutions for businesses throughout Northwest Ohio since 1988. The Northwest Ohio bond fund can facilitate transactions between $2-9 million, while the SBA504 and the Regional 166 loan programs provide loans from $500,000- $5.5 million. The newest offering, the Microenterprise Development Initiative, provides start-up capital, working capital and expansion capital for new and existing business with loans starting at $500 and ranging up to $350,000. Additional details and applications for these programs are available on their website.
“We have a myriad of customizable funding solutions to meet the needs of businesses both large and small. We also offer long-term fixed rate financing for business that want to improve the energy efficiency of their existing facilities through our BetterBuildings of Northwest Ohio program.” – Teresa Smith, Toledo Lucas County Port Authority
“The SBA roundtable was a great opportunity to get small businesses perspective on regional economic conditions. Insights on the day to day operations of small businesses really help give to give context to regional data.” – Jessica Ice, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland
“We are a manufacturing center…we know how to put head to hand and be incredibly innovative. Let’s pool our resources and do it!” - Congresswoman Kaptur