What to Do After a Good Business Idea?

Last year looks like an inflection point for entrepreneurs of color, both in the Mahoning Valley and across the country. Several storylines of 2020 – the coronavirus pandemic, discussions about racial equity and new efforts to support small businesses – converged to create an environment that led to greater attention on minority-owned businesses and what help they need to succeed.

Community development manager for Farmers National Bank, Juan Santiago along with Farmers’ lending staff directs entrepreneurs to agencies like the Minority Business Assistance Center, the Small Business Development Center at Youngstown State University, Oak Hill Collaborative or Valley Economic Development Partners.

“The biggest challenge they encounter is where to go for their next step,” Santiago says. “They may have a great product, a great idea, a service that’s needed in the community, whether it’s a minority-owned business or otherwise. But the question is, ‘Where do I go from here?’ It’s the technical side of things like putting together a business plan or projections or cost estimates.”

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