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Economic Resource Council: Working for your business

By Hollie Grimaldi Flores
Special to The Union


“We often find small business owners working in their business and not on their business.”

So said President and CEO of California Manufacturing Technology Consulting James Watson at the Manufacturers Forum held recently at the Foothills Event Center in Grass Valley. Convened by Nevada County Economic Resource Council, the live event brought a number of entrepreneurs together to share information around common needs, the overall health of the industry, and resources available to assist business owners in the manufacturing sector.

Economic Resource Council Executive Director Gil Mathew began the live forum with a brief presentation about the Economic Resource Council itself – including the impetus to form the nonprofit 25 years ago to keep businesses operating successfully in Nevada County. After listing the diverse community members making up the board of directors, Mathew explained the organizations newly formed committee structure and the drive to provide resources to community industries in over a dozen identified sectors including the arts, banking, construction, health, hospitality, nonprofits, real estate and more, before introducing Watson, who spoke to the group from Sacramento on a livestream. Watson explained California Manufacturing Technology Consulting is a nonprofit tasked by the Department of Commerce to work with small and medium sized manufacturers.

“No matter what the needs of a manufacturer are, we will find somebody who will take care of their needs,” said Watson. Incentives are offered to make the services affordable and often at no cost. Watson discussed a California Manufacturing Technology Consulting funded study of 21 rural counties and found Nevada County is not unique in the challenges brought by the need for skilled labor, worker retention, access to technology (primarily high-speed internet) and access to capital.

California Manufacturing Technology Consulting client advisor for Northern California Kristina Chavez-Wyatt was on site to meet with attendees and described several programs available to manufacturing. “We come to you to identify your obstacles to growth and profitability,” explained Chavez-Wyatt. CMTC is focused on helping owners “ideally hire more people and make more money.”

Addressing the need to secure capital, Leslie Williams of the Sierra Small Business Development Center let the group know of several programs they manage, from grants to loans to application assistance. Williams also encouraged owners to apply for the Nevada County Relief Fund which has already disbursed nearly 1.5 million dollars in grants to area businesses.

Alliance for Work Force Development Business Service Representative Phelan Burns was on hand to explain some of the benefits Alliance for Work Force Development offers employers, including a cost effective on the job training program, applicant screenings, lay off assistance and other employer resources.

Prior to concluding the program, Mathew gave attendees the opportunity to introduce themselves and to talk about their greatest need. Many discussed the desire to grow and expand and were happy to learn of the vast variety of resources available to them.

The Nevada County Economic Resource Council, along with California Manufacturing Technology Consulting, Sierra Small Business Development Center and Alliance for Work Force Development are working hard to help business owners work on their business, to look ahead, and to remain competitive. The entire presentation is available on the Nevada County Economic Resource Council Facebook page and on the NC Tech Connection (an initiative of the Economic Resource Council) YouTube Channel. For more information about the Economic Resource Council or any of the programs mentioned go to ncerc.org.

Hollie Grimaldi Flores is a freelancer writer in Nevada County. She writes a monthly column on behalf of the ERC



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