Small business advice center coming back to Laconia

LACONIA — The Belknap Economic Development Council (BEDC) has been awarded a Rural Business Enterprise Grant by the United States Department of Agriculture and partnered with the New Hampshire Small Business Development Center (SBDC) to bring a business advisor to Laconia.

Carmen Lorentz, executive director of BEDC, said yesterday that the $37,960 grant will fund the advisor, who will work from her agency's office in the Chamber of Commerce Building for 20 hours a week for one year.

Janice Gregory, associate state director of the SBDC, said that advisors are professionals with MBA degrees equipped with knowledge and skills to assist entrepreneurs address all sorts financial, marketing and operational issues to ensure the profitability and growth of their business. "We work with businesses on everything from starting up to selling out," she said. The advisor, she continued, would be especially qualified to help businesses integrate technology into their financial management and business planning.

"We are excited to return to the Lakes Region," Gregory said, noting that the SBDC has not had a presence in the area for some years.

Lorentz anticipated that strengthening the performance and encouraging the growth of small businesses in the area would provide opportunities for the BEDC to share in financing commercial activity, which in turn would increase the return to its revolving loan fund enough to keep the advisor in place once the grant expires.