by Ray Hayes

The US Small Business Administration continues its roadshow to insure rural area businesses are thriving similar to those in urban areas. The most recent stop came in Utah where the regional SBA met with local business owners to inform them about the, “resources, financing, and training available to help their businesses succeed.”

The roadshow initially began after SBA Administrator Linda McMahon challenged regional agencies to increase rural lending by five percent. Christopher Stever, deputy district director of the Utah SBA office, provided how his office responded to McMahon’s challenge. “Our initial response was to try and think about how we could up our outreach to rural communities. There are these products that are available and there are all sorts of wrap-around resources-technical assistance-everything that a business is going to need.”

The Small Business Development Center, the Women’s Business Center, SCORE, the Governor’s Office of Economic Development, the Utah Microloan Fund, the USDA and local banks and credit unions are also assisting the local agencies during the roadshow by answering questions and providing valuable information.

Dan Nordberg, SBA regional administrator, indicated that 99.3 percent of all businesses in the state are considered small businesses. Therefore, Nordberg believes the roadshow is essential to understanding the needs of rural businesses. Utah Governor Gary Herbert is also on board with the regional SBA and has pledged to create more 25,000 jobs in Utah rural countries within the next four years. TheSpectrum.com reported that, “The Rural Development arm of the Governor’s Office of Economic Development offers eight programs and tax credits tailored to rural businesses in the state.”

The latest stop along the roadshow was St. George and the second leg of the trip will start in the Southern parts of the state beginning in November. Brigham City, Logan and Tooele will be the stops during the second leg of the trip. The group kicked off the program last month with visits to Price, Moab and Vernal.