Partnerships aim to help Moffat County businesses bridge urban-rural gap
June 7, 2018
CRAIG — Connecting small rural businesses with the capital and business counseling available to counterparts in urban areas was one of the goals of two recent round tables in Craig.
The Craig Chamber of Commerce and the U.S. Small Business Administration brought more than 30 small business owners and entrepreneurs together to shared ideas about improving the economic climate, followed by a gathering of rural lenders the next day.
"Bridging the gap between urban and rural population centers, ensuring that small businesses in rural areas have the same access to capital and business counseling services as their urban counterparts, is a top priority for the Trump administration," said Dan Nordberg, Region VIII administrator for the U.S. Small Business Administration, who was in Craig in May.
Nordberg added: "… it was great to have the opportunity to meet with the chamber of commerce, Mayor (John) Ponikvar, and members of the business community to hear directly from them on the challenges, as well as opportunities, they're encountering and, in response, discuss how the Small Business Administration might be able to tailor our resources to assist them moving forward."
Nordberg, a Colorado native, said that last month's visits won't be his last to the area.
"Things are going well on the Front Range. We are looking at what we can do to bring services over here to tap into the creativity that exists on the Western Slope," he said.
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In addition to furthering partnerships established with the chamber, local elected officials and the business community Nordberg is working to increase rural lending by 5 percent.
To that end, the SBA and U.S. Department of Agriculture have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to improve investment opportunities, identify ways to increase the benefits of the Tax Cuts and Job Act of 2017, improve innovation for rural technical assistance providers and aid rural businesses in providing tools to export products around the world, among other goals.
One of the next steps for the SBA in Craig and Moffat County is to continue to develop partnerships with the Craig Chamber of Commerce and lenders.
"Whenever I'm needed in Craig I will be there," Nordberg said.
Contact Sasha Nelson at 970-875-1794 or snelson@CraigDailyPress.com.