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updated: 6/29/2021 2:28 PM

Aurora's economy will recover, thanks to its thriving small business community

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Aurora's robust, diverse small businesses are the key to economic recovery in our community.

According to the Small Business Administration, small businesses create 60%-80% of all new jobs nationwide, creating opportunities not just for business owners, but for many women and minorities in the workforce across industries. These entrepreneurs are essential to our economy, but they have not been receiving the resources they need to support their workforces and communities through the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Women's Business Development Center (WBDC) understands these challenges and supports small business owners' recovery through no-cost, one-on-one advising, industry-specific programming and assistance accessing capital. According to Patch Business, Kane County saw a nearly 65% increase in business bankruptcy filings from 2019 to 2020. This is just one of the impacts the pandemic has had on our small business community.

The COVID-19 pandemic forced many small business owners to pivot, with changes in operations to even changing their business models completely.

Meighan Cole and Rachel Moore, owners of Ma Maw's Kitchen Jammin Mammas, a food truck serving both Chicago- and Southern-style cuisine, were two of these business owners. An Aurora local, Meighan previously owned a medical services transportation company, which she decided to put on pause due to the pandemic. With the help of the WBDC, Meighan leveraged her entrepreneurial skills and employed family members with backgrounds in the culinary and food service industry to successfully pivot her business, allowing her and Rachel to open the food truck.

Though small businesses and entrepreneurs, like Meighan and Rachel, have been hit hard by the pandemic, they are the key to a swift, full economic recovery in Aurora and nationwide. With local economies reopening across the country, we need to consider how we, as individuals and organizations, can support small business owners.

At the WBDC in Aurora, we are committed to helping more female and minority entrepreneurs establish economic independence and fuel economic growth.

The WBDC Aurora services give business owners the resources to start, grow and innovate their companies, such as:

• Comprehensive training programs that provide business owners with the tools to address the demands and challenges of the current economic environment, while connecting local entrepreneurs with one another.

• Business certification, which helps women and minority owners compete for space in the marketplace and, more importantly, engage with companies that prioritize support of diverse businesses.

• One-on-one business advising to assist owners in planning for all stages of development and growth.

• Business and financial education to help owners evaluate and determine potential sources of capital, prepare loan applications and enhance their overall understanding of financial statements and resources.

The WBDC staff is standing by with resources, including cost-free consultation sessions, to develop a tailored strategy for your small business.

If you are a small-business owner looking to learn more about these resources, schedule an appointment today and get connected with the right tools to thrive in this unique economic environment.

Our experts at the WBDC offices in Aurora and Chicago are eager to help you bolster your business plans and unlevel your strategy, today.