After a successful pilot program in the beginning of 2021, the City of Auburn initiated a second round of their Microenterprise Program this fall. The program targets start-ups of under two years and entrepreneurs who qualify as microenterprise and are low to moderate income residents of the City of Auburn. The Cayuga Economic Development Agency (CEDA) once again implemented the program with the goal to encourage and support the microenterprise business community of Auburn.
The program consisted of educational sessions, mentoring, and networking. Presenters included subject matter experts from SCORE; HR One; Hancock Estabrook, LLP; Canandaigua Insurance Agency; Maple Seed Creative; Louis Legacy, LLC; 3 Leaf Tea; Dermody, Burke & Brown, CPAs LLC; Lean on Me Business Solutions; Pursuit Lending; and Tompkins Trust Company. Five participants are in the final steps of completing the program and will be awarded grants upon completion. The added bonus of this round of programing was the support network created by the previous round of participants.
Successful microenterprise environments are ones where both the community and fellow small businesses create a supportive network. These interconnected micro-economies can create a web that can support economic growth and development throughout the larger community. There is big impact created by these very small businesses.
The larger impacts on the community revolve around the creation and drive of items, ideas and consumers into the community. Many microenterprise businesses focus on immediate need within their surrounding community. By offering these items, it means that local consumers are staying in town to buy these items, so local shoppers and local dollars stay local. However, these same items may be needed in other surrounding communities or be of interest to tourists and so outside people and dollars are being pulled into the local economy. More foot traffic and more interest in a community will drive the need for more offerings and more resources, therefore, creating a fertile economic garden.
Finally yet importantly, these entrepreneurs and small business owners provide the role models for future entrepreneurs. They are a network of business owners who look to each other for support and guidance, but also look for ways in which their businesses, products, and ideas can work together. They share information and experiences as a way to open the path so that everyone can succeed.
This particular round of microenterprise had entrepreneurs with very diverse ideas, but each one when fully realized will add something special to our community:
- Shawnna Williams: Divine Goddess – Outreach nonprofit for the support and development of women.
- Jeff Richardson: CNY Hoop Talks – Recruitment services for student athletes
- Chevelle Carson: Cats Above and Beyond – Cat-centric pet store
- Cynteia Smith: Pretty N Pink – Bold and elegant lingerie
- Erika Barrett: A’Legends – Arcade for families
- (Class Audit Participant): Kathleen Walsh: What Comes Around Apparel – upcycled hand dyed clothing
Auburn continues to grow and diversify its small business community and it is up to us as the consumer to support it by shopping local, talking about our favorite business online and in-person, and offering our support as mentors, teachers and shoulders to lean on. Even the largest tree comes from one tiny seed.