Joel Beaudin, of The Copperfield, and Adirondack Economic Development Corporation Executive Director Jim Murphy walk Main Street in North Creek.
Jim Murphy’s job of boosting economic development in the Adirondack region leads him to all 14 counties in the North Country, and he made a stop here in Warren County last week to offer special assistance for small business owners and budding entrepreneurs.
In the summer of 2011, Murphy left his position as economic developer of the village of Potsdam to become the new executive director of the Adirondack Economic Development Corp. (AEDC), based in Saranac Lake. And he’s spending a lot of time on the road promoting his organization’s small business education and loan programs.
“We’re in a lot of places, and we focus on two main things — we do small business lending and small business training, and they go hand-in-hand pretty well,” Murphy said.
Murphy met with members of the North Creek Business Alliance Thursday, Feb. 9 at barVino to see if there was any interest in holding a 12-week Entrepreneurial Assistance Program course in North Creek. And based on the initial reaction from Alliance members — including the Gore Mountain Regional Chamber of Commerce — an AEDC class may be coming to town soon.
Throughout the course, participants will learn the basics of small business — including financing, marketing and sales — and will write a business plan. At the end of the course, they will have the opportunity to use their business plans to apply for a loan with the AEDC.
“When I first got started in business, I thought that the biggest thing that businesses needed was cash. If you had just a bag of cash, everybody would be fine,” Murphy said. “What I find, though, is people need help as well, they need answers. And so we’re trying to do both, and hopefully we give you the answers before we give you the cash.”
Founded in 1984 as a nonprofit corporation, the AEDC is a U.S. Small Business Administration-certified lender and microloan intermediary. That means they borrow money from the government and re-lend it to small businesses in the form of low-interest loans. While the range of loans is wide, the AEDC typically handles lending amounts of $10,000-$40,000, according to Murphy.
“The difference between us and bank financing is access. It’s real hard for startups to get any kind of financing,” Murphy said. “So we do startups all the time. Our goal is to start businesses.”
Loan money can be used for a variety of business needs, including working capital, inventory, fixtures and equipment.
AEDC’s mission goes beyond teaching and lending; staff members create an ongoing relationship with their clients to see how they are growing and what their needs are throughout the years.
“We try to develop a partnership over time,” Murphy said. “What I love to do is set you up, get you started and, at the end of the day, work on your succession plan when you’re ready to retire. That’s the kind of relationship I would love to see.”
Murphy had encouraging words to say about the Business Alliance and the potential for economic development success in North Creek.
“The key to any successful revitalization is having a core group of people willing to make the commitment to do it, and it’s great to see it because you guys have overcome the biggest hurdle, which is organizing yourselves and I’m really impressed by the numbers and the type of people that are here,” Murphy said.
Murphy was introduced at the meeting by Business Alliance co-chair Joel Beaudin, managing member of The Copperfield and member of the AEDC Board of Directors.
For more information about the AEDC, call (518) 891-5523.
The North Creek Business Alliance meets from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. every Thursday at barVino.