Tahoe Chamber Corner: Help for our small businesses (opinion) | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Tahoe Chamber Corner: Help for our small businesses (opinion)

Steve Teshara
Chamber Corner

Steve Teshara

Small business owners and entrepreneurs are an essential segment of our business community. They represent opportunities for future growth and diversification.

Providing assistance to existing and potential new small businesses is an important part of what we do at Tahoe Chamber. It's grounded in all four of our core competencies — advocacy, business development, economic development, and promoting the community.

That's why we're particularly pleased to announce a new partnership with the Sierra Small Business Development Center (SBDC) to offer free small business consulting in the South Lake Tahoe area.

These free services are focused on helping clients with any or all of the following: create a feasible business model, assess business opportunities, determine financial needs, identify potential sources of financing, and design an effective strategy to market and grow.

This includes meetings at the Tahoe Chamber office with consultants who specialize in public relations and digital marketing, traditional and alternative financing, and business start-up. In addition, the full directory of 15 Sierra SBDC consultants is available to small businesses and entrepreneurs through remote access.

The Sierra SBDC, headquartered at the Sierra Business Council office in Truckee, serves a seven-county region in northeastern California, including Nevada, Placer and El Dorado counties.

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SBDC and its consultants provide direct, no cost one-on-one consulting that enables businesses to improve their companies, solve problems, strengthen management, develop new ideas for products or services, or investigate business opportunities. To conduct this important work, the Sierra SBDC is partially funded through a grant from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).

Additional funding comes from other public and private regional partners. In addition to Tahoe Chamber staff time and resources, our matching dollars for this program are made possible by a funding agreement with El Dorado County through its Elevate to El Dorado economic development program.

We're grateful to the El Dorado County Board of Supervisors and chief administrative office for this support. They too see the value of small businesses and community economic development.

For more information and/or to register for this free small business consulting opportunity, call the Sierra SBDC at 530-582-5022 or email info@sierraSBDC.com. Jessica Carr is the Sierra SBDC program manager. At Tahoe Chamber, we have additional programs designed to help support small as well as larger businesses, such as our Level UP workshops. Learn more at tahoechamber.org or call us at 775-588-1728, extension 300.

Career path services

To strengthen and sustain our economy and community, Tahoe Chamber is committed to helping workers as well as employers. Our partnership with the ADVANCE program at Lake Tahoe Community College is one example.

We also have a new, more formal partnership with JOIN, Inc., northern Nevada's premier career training agency. JOIN is a nonprofit whose primary goal is to prepare each client to become gainfully employed in a skilled occupation that forms the basis for a long-term career. JOIN serves all 13 northern Nevada counties and the Tahoe Basin, offering the following free client services to those 17 years and older:

Vocational assessments to determine career interests and aptitudes

Career guidance and development of individual training plans

Occupation-specific training for licensure, certification, or accreditation

Training in resume development, interview skills, and presentation

Access daily to computer workstations

Support services while in training

JOIN, Inc., also is a member of the ADVANCE network of collaborating organizations and can serve clients and make referrals across the state line in the Tahoe area. For more information, contact Kathy Halbardier, JOIN's regional manager, at 775-283-0125 or email at khalbardier@join.org.

Steve Teshara serves as CEO of the Lake Tahoe South Shore Chamber of Commerce (Tahoe Chamber).