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Charlottesville small business growth depends on more than tax credits


AP/Mark Rourke


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If there’s one thing Washington can agree on, it’s that the current bipartisan jobs legislation is unlikely to create more jobs. Nora Gillespie, Director of the Central Virginia Small Business Development Center, concurs.

Tax credits for hiring may not be of too much help to many small businesses, according to Gillespie. The primary driver for hiring is “having orders to fill – being profitable and having the business to support the hire.” Secondary factors are confidence in the economy and access to capital, both of which remain uncertain.

Gillespie notes small business employers are often reluctant to make [hiring] commitments to employees that they may not be able to keep. With three out of four of Charlottesville’s businesses numbering 10 employees or less, hiring even one additional employee is a big decision.

According to Gillespie, small businesses report that the uncertain economy and its effect on their access to capital is not necessarily getting worse but increased sales are required. “Our local small businesses are working hard for every sale. It seems to get down to improved consumer confidence – jobs and willingness to spend.”

On the plus side, Gillespie notes that the relocation of some DIA elements to Charlottesville has lead to growth in local defense contracting and that there are also increases in the green and K-12 sectors. In the long-term, her organization predicts a positive growth picture for regional small businesses.

The Central Virginia Small Business Development Center offers free business consulting services, assists with feasibility studies and business planning, sponsors seminars and training, and provides information and other services to area small and mid-sized businesses. The center is hosted by The Thomas Jefferson Partnership for Economic Development.

For more info: Contact the Central Virginia Small Business Development Center at 434.295.8198 or sbdc@cstone.net. They serve the City of Charlottesville and the Counties of Albemarle, Fluvanna, Greene, Louisa, Nelson, and Orange. If you are in another area, contact the Statewide SBDC for the Small Business Development Center nearest you.

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