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Group hopes to spark small business growth
Members of Business Bryan, a group with the goal of creating an environment supportive of new business growth. - photo by Photo provided.

Recognizing the importance of small businesses to the future of Bryan County, a group of local business people have come together to create Business Bryan.

Led by the Richmond Hill/Bryan County Chamber of Commerce, Business Bryan’s goal is to create a culture and environment that encourages and supports new business growth. This will be accomplished by developing a strategic plan that centralizes resource information and provides guidance to business start-ups.

Integral to this effort, Business Bryan is seeking the "Entrepreneur Friendly" designation from the state of Georgia. Working with the Georgia Department of Economic Development’s Entrepreneur and Small Business Office, the group is seeking to become one of only 15 counties in the state that have qualified for this recognition. Obtaining this designation status involves a five-step process: identifying existing local resources, examining the existing entrepreneurial base, surveying business owners and interviewing selected entrepreneurs then compiling the information and meeting with the state department, which reviews the group’s report.

It is expected that the project will take approximately six months. The result will be a manual of resources that serves as a road map for starting and running a successful business in Bryan County.

The first step will be the Business Bryan Forum to be held at the Wetlands Center at J. F. Gregory Park on Thursday, April 5, 2007 at 6 p.m. The forum will consist of experts from three key areas: employee manpower and training, funding and business planning: Ken Boyd, Savannah Technical College; Tony O’Reilly, Small Business Assistance Corporation; Lynn Vos, Small Business Development Center.

The forum is free and open to the public and people considering starting a business are encouraged to attend.

Business Bryan committee members are: Bonnie Proctor, chair, Chamber of Commerce; Brad Brookshire, Bryan Bank & Trust; Clint Murphy, Richmond Hill Development, Doug Elliott, Coastal EMC; Gail Onken, Health Insurance Specialists; Jan Bass, Richmond Hill; Janet Thayer, Coastal Atlantic Mortgage; Jean Bacon, Development Authority; Jennifer Mock, Richmond Hill Ban, Kittie Franklin, RHBC Chamber of Commerce; Laura Evans, Edward Jones; Michelle Englehart, Skin Essentials; Phil Jones, Bryan County; Rich DeLong, Magnolia Manor; Richelle Knepper, Southeastern Bank; Ross Blair, Bryan County News. Sallie Brewer, Ph.D., superintendent, Bryan County Schools; Shirley Heagerty, S & J Bookkeeping; Tonya Raulerson, Pembroke; Wynn Carney, Prudential Realty; Ray Snow, Georgia Department of Economic Development.

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