CANTON – Small business owners can gain insight about growing their operation in a program offered by the Stark County Minority Business Association and Huntington Bank.
The initial Small Business Seeds of Growth Event is set for June 22 at the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Nash Family Event & Conference Center.
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The event will give small business owners a chance to learn about financing and programs available to help them get started, said Leonard Stevens the Minority Business Association’s chief executive officer. They also will hear from community groups and other small business owners.
The association is working with the Lift Local Business program developed by Huntington. Lift supports small businesses owned by minorities, women and veterans from startup through expansion. Participants can receive loans, business planning support, free financial education courses, and other services.
Huntington has committed $100 million to help small businesses through the Lift program. So far, the bank has used about $36.5 million since the program began in October 2020.
Stevens said programs similar to the Small Business Seeds of Growth Event have been sponsored by Huntington in Cleveland and other larger cities. This will be a first for Canton.
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The Stark County Minority Business Association connected with Huntington’s Lift program, Stevens said, with the help of Williams C. Shivers, the bank’s former regional president, and Sandy Upperman, recently appointed as Huntington’s community president for Stark County.
Stevens said Huntington has provided the Minority Business Association with grants and other support through the years.
“It’s been a great relationship,” he said, adding that the Canton community was fortunate to be selected for the Seeds of Growth program.
Stevens is hoping to have 100 area small businesses at the event, which is free. Registration is open until the day before the three-hour event, which begins at noon and will include a catered lunch.
Seven local small businesses will participate in a Huntington Marketplace, displaying their products and services, and attendees can make purchases using coupons being issued by Huntington.
Stevens hopes the Small Business Seeds of Growth program with Huntington will pave the way for future events with other financial institutions.
Stark County Moving Forward, which has been working with minority businesses, has made connections with other large banks that have programs designed to assist small companies owned by minorities, women and veterans. Some of those banks have provided grants to help the Minority Business Association, Stevens said.
The Minority Business Association is membership driven and provides a variety of services to business owners who join, Stevens said. The association can help business owners get started, file incorporation paperwork and gain access to potential lenders.