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13 entrepreneurs graduate from small business class in Orleans

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 15 June 2016 at 12:00 am

Photos by Tom Rivers – A new class graduated from the Microenterprise Assistance Program on Tuesday. The group includes, front row, from left: John Gonzalez of Medina, Andre Mitchell-Hurlee of Rochester, Judy Richardson of Albion, Amanda Smith of Barre, Jeff Cole of Kendall and Brian Allis of Hilton. Back row: Diane Blanchard, Microenterprise Assistance Program manager; Sam Campanella, business advisor; Dick Pettite, business advisor; Tara Thom of Albion; Samantha Marchincin of Rochester; Justin Weese of Albion; Candi Schutrum of Medina; Sarah Nolan of Medina; Jodi Sugar of Albion; Karin and Tim Menz of Lyndonville; Christine Falbo of Holley.

ALBION – Another class of entrepreneurs has graduated from a 10-week small business training program, bringing the total graduates to 435 since the program started in 1999.

A 10-week class gives a new group of entrepreneurs tips in taxes, marketing, legal issues, handling stress, computers and bookkeeping – all factors that are key to running successful businesses. They also must complete a business plan.

The graduates are now eligible to seek low-interest financing for up to $30,000 from the Orleans Economic Development Agency. The EDA also has additional assistance to help the new business owners. The EDA is offering downtown rental subsidies for entrepreneurs to move into the downtown business districts in Albion, Holley, Lyndonville and Medina.

Jeff Cole accepts a certificate for completing the MAP class from Dick Pettite, one of the class’s business advisors. Cole is looking to start a Christmas tree and berry operation in Kendall.

Businesses can seek $3 per square foot annually if they move into the downtown. The EDA is capping the subsidies at $4,500 a year, the maximum for a 1,500 square foot space.

The EDA also has $100,000 in grants to share with small businesses (5 or fewer employees) that need working capital, equipment purchases or inventory. The grants are capped at $15,000 per recipient.

The subsidies and small business grants has created added interest from entrepreneurs to look at the downtown business districts, said Diana Blanchard, director of the Microenterprise Assistance Program. She said 18 people have already applied for the 10-week class in the fall.

Karin Menz of Lyndonville accepts her MAP certificate. She is starting an online snowmobile track stabilizer business.

The spring 2016 graduates include: Jody Sugar (dog grooming business); Christine Falbo (hearth/fireplace business); Jeff Cole (JC’s Trees and Berries); Tara Thom (Town and Country Quilter); Sarah Nolan (party supply store in Medina); Candi Schutrum (Happy Guru Loves Me/Lotions); Karin Menz (Snow Trackers/Snowmobile Track Stabilizer online business); Brian Allis (grower of hops); John Gonzalez (flipping homes); Judy Richardson (Italian deli/bakery in Albion); Justin Weese (small engine repair or deli); Amanda Smith (bakery/crafts/deli in Barre); and Samantha Marchincin (social media for musicians).