Bryan County has become one of the state’s "Entrepreneur Friendly" communities, an official designation indicating the community is developing an environment conducive to small business and entrepreneurs. Ninety-three percent of Bryan County’s 1,070 companies are small businesses with fewer than 20 employees.
"Homegrown businesses and entrepreneurs create quality jobs that are integral to ensuring prosperity and opportunity throughout Georgia," said Governor Sonny Perdue. "By encouraging and supporting small businesses, we are investing in a stronger future for local communities and the state as a whole."
Bryan County is the 51st community in the state to be named Entrepreneur Friendly by the Georgia Department of Economic Development (GDEcD). Previously designated counties in the region include Camden, Glynn and the TRI-CREST counties of Montgomery, Toombs and Tattnall. Nearby counties in the progress of designation include Chatham, Effingham, Liberty, Bulloch and Evans. Ware County received its designation last month.
To earn the designation, Bryan County completed the Entrepreneur-Friendly program with the assistance of GDEcD’s regional representative Ray Snow. The county analyzed its entrepreneurial and small business environment and developed strategies tailored for that environment, to help foster the growth of this critical business segment. Bryan County also underwent a full-day assessment by a review team composed of GDEcD staff and representatives from the Small Business Development Center and the Georgia Department of Labor.
Qualified entrepreneurs and small business owners in Bryan County are now eligible for customized market data, such as demographic and business information, to help give them a competitive edge.
The county is also eligible for an Entrepreneur-Friendly Implementation Fund (EFIF) grant to help it implement specific, long-term programs that support their entrepreneurs and small businesses. The grant must be matched 50 percent in dollars or in-kind value by the community.
"Our purpose in starting the Business Bryan initiative is to let people know that they can start a business in Bryan County, and that there are resources available to help them," said Kittie Franklin, chair of the Richmond Hill-Bryan County Chamber of Commerce. "The Business Bryan Committee has put together a step-by-step manual of items for entrepreneurs to consider when opening a business. We want to make it easier for existing and potential business owners to get the information they need to succeed."
"Small businesses are the backbone of Georgia communities. By helping entrepreneurs and small businesses grow, we help Georgia grow," said Heidi Green, chairman of the Georgia Entrepreneur and Small Business Coordinating Network and GDEcD’s deputy commissioner for Global Commerce. "We applaud Bryan County for incorporating small businesses into its strategic plan for growth."
The Georgia Department of Economic Development (GDEcD) is the state’s sales and marketing arm, the lead agency for attracting new business investment, encouraging the expansion of existing industry and small businesses, locating new markets for Georgia products, attracting tourists to Georgia, and promoting the state as a location for film, video and music projects, as well as planning and mobilizing state resources for economic development.