City proactive in attracting entrepreneurs | TahoeDailyTribune.com

City proactive in attracting entrepreneurs

Susan Wood, Tahoe Daily Tribune

Sometimes launching a company takes as much business acumen and capital as it does to run a city. That’s why South Lake Tahoe wants to enlist some help to cultivate entrepreneurs in the community — many who open shop without a business plan.

The City Council on Tuesday voted 4-1 to request staff apply for Community Development Block Grant funds that would pay for an outside contractor to conduct training for would-be entrepreneurs and pay for staff resources. The amount the city is applying for is $300,000. Councilman Hal Cole was the lone dissenting vote.

Jon Gregory of Golden Capital plans to put on workshops, along with other classroom training that may involve instruction and advice as remedial as Business 101.

The CDBG application will return to the council Sept. 16. The city should find out about the award in mid December.

“It’s important people have these skills. This program takes it to a higher level,” said Andra Burnam, housing economic development coordinator.

John Gregory of Golden Capital of Chico told the city it’s treading on common ground with many rural communities. He described a business environment in the United States in which workers dream of escaping the long hours and commute for a more relaxed lifestyle at home and work.

Gregory told the city it’s ahead of the quality of life game in terms of offering the environment that draws interested professionals.

Time and time again, locals talk about the inspiration they receive from being surrounded by beauty — a backdrop for creativity and vision.

Gregory said there’s a common misconception that people equate entrepreneurs with small business.

“These are two different things,” he said.

With the city keeping its eye on the prize of economic opportunities as one of its key missions, the council gave the notion of building the economy through start-ups careful consideration.

This also means scrutiny. Cole said he wants the money to be earmarked for financial incentives to start-ups.

Councilman Tom Davis explained to Gregory that building regulations pose problems. He is afraid start-ups will take their profits to establish themselves off the hill.

Ken Daley, president of the South Lake Tahoe Chamber of Commerce, said, “This program fits and goes in line with several things the chamber is working on. We support this 110 percent.”

South Shore resident Ed Moser submitted three words to the council regarding a budding entrepreneurial program — housing, housing, housing.

But that was precisely what Housing/Economic Development Manager Patrick Conway said the city had in mind with this program. Conway likes the idea that many of the people with second homes in town — often from the Bay Area — could be considered program beneficiaries.

“I see this as a great opportunity. If we don’t begin the process of building that second economy, we’re going to be faced with more problems down the line,” Councilwoman Kathay Lovell said.–

Susan Wood can be reached at (530) 542-8009 or via e-mail at swood@tahoedailytribune.com


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