Fifteen local businesses were recognized Thursday for completing a course designed to help them expand their operations.
The U.S. Small Business Administration e200 initiative selected Youngstown-area companies that have an operational track record of three years or more and are believed to have the ability to expand and add jobs.
The e200 program helps to provide feedback for business owners and helps them work on the business and not just in it, said Michael Chodos, SBA associate administrator for entrepreneurial development.
“You’re all here to be successful for yourselves and your families, along with adding jobs to help your communities,” he said.
Students in the course receive feedback and can learn from the successes and challenges of other business owners, Chodos said.
The graduates of the course and their companies were Bill Jones, AAMCO Transmissions; Bill DeToro, Anatomical Concepts; Robert Merva, Avrem Technologies; Robert Dickason, Barrier Pest Control; Eleftherios Hazimihalis, Creekside Mortgage; Richard Lonardo, Defense and Energy Systems LLC; Debbie Woodford, 4s Company; Mark Herron, Herron Office Products; William Makosky, Lynn Kittenger & Noble Inc.; Carol Richardson, Macchione- Richardson Insurance Agency; Robert Cruciger, Roof Rite Inc; Kathryn Scheel, Silcox Dental Supply; Thomas Reeveley, Team Office Technologies; Robert Nicholson, The Nicholson Center; and Jason Marucci, Wellness Ventures.
The course’s biggest benefit is that it requires you to be honest about your business, Hazimihalis said. It provides strong motivation going forward.
A big part of the class was developing a plan for growth including a three-year action plan, Dickason said.
“It really set us up for the short-term and the longterm,” he said.
Youngstown Mayor Charles Sammarone asked the graduates to remember the incentive programs available through the city. The city set aside $1 million this year to fund incentives for small businesses. “We can help you, and you can help us, too,” he said.