Griffin and Spalding County Receive Entrepreneur Friendly Designation

Spalding County was certified on April 10, 2007 by the state as its most recent “Entrepreneur Friendly” community. The designation means that Griffin and Spalding County are strategically building our environment to support small businesses and entrepreneurs.

Ninety-one percent of Spalding County’s 1,988 companies are small businesses with fewer than 20 employees.

“Homegrown businesses and entrepreneurs create quality jobs that are integral to ensuring prosperity and opportunity throughout Georgia,” said Governor Sonny Perdue. “By encouraging and supporting small businesses, we are investing in a stronger future for local communities and the state as a whole.”

Spalding County is the 39th community in the state to be named Entrepreneur Friendly by the Georgia Department of Economic Development.

Leading Entrepreneurs, Advancing the Future (LEAF)

In Griffin and Spalding County, a leadership team, under the guidance of the Griffin/Spalding Chamber of Commerce Small Business Committee and Leading Entrepreneurs, Advancing the Future (LEAF) team, spent close to a year preparing for the review team visit. To earn the designation, the LEAF team completed the Entrepreneur-Friendly program with the assistance of GDEcD’s regional representatives Rebecca Ferguson and Dawn Townsend. Program steps involved analyzing the current entrepreneurial and small business development environment and strategizing options for fostering small businesses and entrepreneurs. Griffin and Spalding County also underwent a full-day assessment by review teams composed of GDEcD staff, representatives from the Small Business Development Center, Georgia Micro Enterprise Network, Department of Labor, Small Business Administration, and Georgia Department of Community Affairs.

Benefits for Small Businesses and Our Community

Qualified entrepreneurs and small business owners in Spalding County are now eligible for customized market data, such as demographic and business information, to help give them a competitive edge.

Spalding is also eligible for Entrepreneur-Friendly Implementation Fund (EFIF) grants to help us implement specific, long-term programs that support our entrepreneurs and small businesses. The grant must be matched 50 percent in dollars or in in-kind value by the community.

Local and State Support

“Our Small Business committee project, Leading Entrepreneurs Advancing the Future (LEAF), has been a rewarding experience,” said Bonnie Pfrogner, executive director of the Griffin-Spalding Chamber of Commerce. “Our government, education, and business sectors as well as our citizens have joined together to enhance our area’s business opportunities. This initiative gave us a clear understanding of what we have and what we can improve. We look forward to continuing our work and developing more program initiatives for business.”

“We congratulate Spalding County for taking this proactive approach to supporting their small businesses,” said Chris Clark, chairman of the Georgia Entrepreneur and Small Business Coordinating Network and GDEcD’s deputy commissioner of Global Commerce. “Steps like these ensure growth and development in our local business communities.”

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