By Viki Gudas
Visitors to Harbor Country this summer will notice quite a few new retail shops, restaurants and business expansions that have taken root over the winter. What do they all have in common? They are the creations of passionate people with an entrepreneurial spirit and a desire to live, work, and play in Harbor Country.
The Harbor Country Chamber of Commerce nurtures that spirit by providing resources and tools for start-up businesses or those looking to relocate an existing business. The Chamber facilitates introductions to the business community through Ribbon Cutting ceremonies and monthly networking After Hours Mixers. It helps market new businesses through website and social media promotions, the Harbor Country Guide, and targeted promotions like the upcoming Undiscovered Season promotion. The Chamber also provides office rental space for those needing a workspace or a place to meet prospective clients.
In partnership with Cornerstone Alliance Small Business Services and the Small Business Administration (SBA), anyone with an idea can get help with business planning, financing, and navigating local and state requirements. Margaret Adams, of Cornerstone’s Women’s Business Center, is available by appointment every Friday at our Three Oaks office. Some of the recent new businesses she has helped in Harbor Country include Song Asian Cuisine, Harbor Country Cabins, and Grampa Boo’s Kitchen.
A variety of workshops offered by the Chamber, Cornerstone and SCORE of Kalamazoo help entrepreneurs and small business owners with business challenges. Upcoming programs include:
· What’s On Tap to Open a Microbrewery, August 10, 2017, 1:00-5:00 pm, Hilton Garden Inn, 1300 Cinema Way, Benton Harbor
· Is Your Business Sustainable, August 16, 2017, 11:00 am-2:00 pm, Western Michigan University- Southwest, 2785 E. Napier Avenue, Room 2405, Benton Harbor
· Succession Planning-Preserving Your Business, September 14, 2017, 11:30 am-1:00 pm, Cornerstone Chamber of Commerce, 811 Ship Street, Suite 303, St. Joseph
· Aspiring Entrepreneurs, October 26, 6:00-8:00pm, Harbor Country Chamber of commerce, 15311 Three Oaks Rd, Three Oaks
If you’ve got a passion for entrepreneurship, I hope you will consider joining the creative, eclectic, spirited business community of Harbor Country –the perfect place to make your dreams come true.