Before embarking upon his annual manufacturing trip throughout southwest Missouri, Congressman Billy Long Tuesday visited with business leaders in Springfield, where he applauded efforts to enhance economic growth. KSMU’s Scott Harvey reports.
At Missouri State University’s Small Business and Technology Development Center, which was recently located in the new eFactory downtown, Long presented the center’s director, Rayanna Anderson, with a Congressional Record of his April 23 speech on the House floor recognizing her service. The certificate comes on the heels of the center’s Region VII Small Business Development Center Excellence and Innovation Award.
Long notes that roughly 60 percent of the American workforce are employed by a small business, which is why he’s happy to see places like SBTDC help get these businesses up and running.
“Their facility down there allows people to come in for a certain dollar amount per month; you get a secretary, utilities, use of their conference rooms, and you can start to incubate your business,” Long said.
Over the last five years, Anderson and her staff have consulted with over 600 small businesses and helped business owners obtain over $54 million in financing and investments. In 2009 alone, SBTDC helped 170 local small businesses retain or create over 1,500 jobs while boosting sales by over $21 million.
“Jobs are important – they’ve always been important, but they’re especially important today. And what we do know is that most of the new jobs are being fueled by small businesses, and we are happy to report that we’ve been a part of that,” Anderson says.
Anderson says that with her clients, technology has played a major role in small business development.
“I always tease and I say, ‘you can pretty much appear to be pretty big,’ and you have a lot of access to new, innovated types of technology. And you have the ability to make quick decision in a smaller-type organization, and that keeps you competitive.”
With offices in Springfield and West Plains, the SBTDC, established in 1982, is part of a nationwide network and is affiliated with and supported by MSU’s Office of the Vice President for Research and Economic Development.
Congressman Long later Tuesday stopped to hear from residents at ManorCare, a nursing and rehabilitation center, where he said his father once stayed.
Beginning Wednesday, the Congressman will tour manufacturing facilities in Springfield, Neosho, Joplin, Mt. Vernon, and Bolivar over a period of two days.
In Missouri’s 7th District, according to the National Association of Manufacturers, the manufacturing sector employs more than 36,000 employees. It is home to 449 manufacturing facilities comprised of 10 or more employees.
For KSMU news, I’m Scott Harvey.