ALLIANCE – A new program aims to provide support and resources to minority business owners in the Carnation City.
The Family Matters Resource Center, a community center that offers services and educational opportunities to underserved residents and families, developed the initiative in an effort to promote business growth in Alliance.
"People start a business to succeed, not to fail," said Raymont Johnson, founder of the Family Matters Resource Center. "But unless you have a good infrastructure of support, it can be tough."
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Johnson, who is a member of the Stark County Minority Business Association, said the goal is to bring county-wide resources to the Alliance community for businesses in various stages of development.
Working alongside the Alliance Area Chamber of Commerce and Alliance Area Development, Johnson has been able to connect with minority business owners in Alliance.
"We've been able to work with them to help start building their businesses, everything from the startups, getting them registered and working on their business plans, to the ones that are established to continue to see how we can support them," he said.
Johnson said investing in Alliance-based minority business owners will help the city's economy and create job opportunities. The Family Matters Resource Center, he said, will serve as a "micro-business center" so that business owners who work out of their homes have a physical location to use when necessary.
"We already have the infrastructure in place there that if they need to meet with clients, we have good space for them to meet with clients. We have computer access, we have a learning center," Johnson said.
The program has gotten involved with 12 businesses so far, Johnson said. He hopes to expand the program in the future by obtaining grant funding and using it to bring in established business owners to work as mentors for startup business owners.
"We're trying to find all minority businesses and underserved businesses to come and be part of what we're doing, so we can help them be successful," he said.
Rick Baxter, president of Alliance Area Development, said the program will be beneficial to the community because it will bring business resources to the area, equipping residents with the necessary tools to turn their side projects into businesses.
"A lot of the business resources we have right now as far as helping local entrepreneurs are really based in Canton," he said. "(These organizations) do come over here and do some help and coaching, but to be able to have an entrepreneur-based program based right here in Alliance is definitely a good thing."
The Family Matters Resource Center, at 425 E. Market St., opened its doors last summer in downtown Alliance. Johnson's goal for the facility was to help members of the community by providing programming for adults, children and families in need, including skills training, nutritional courses and food distributions.
In November, Beacon Charitable Pharmacy started offering services and health care resources, such as vaccines, once a week at the community center. Services are available on Tuesdays from 4 to 6 p.m.
For more information about the Family Matters Resource Center, call 330-913-7007 or email [email protected].
Reach Paige at 330-580-8577 or [email protected], or on Twitter at @paigembenn.
This article originally appeared on The Repository: Minority entrepreneur center comes to Alliance
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