As the economy closes businesses across the nation, the Virginia Department of Business Assistance is reaching out to entrepreneurs in the Commonwealth. Wednesday they hosted a workshop in Berryville for prospective and existing business owners. A lot of local residents took advantage of the opportunity.
It's no secret that the economy is hitting small businesses hard. "My business has been cut a great deal," says Donna Allanson, owner of a catering business.
Front Royal resident Donna Allanson has owned her catering business for 25 years. Last year she saw business decline by 50 percent. Allanson is attending the Virginia Entrepreneur Workshop to learn how to expand her business. Dave Fuller of the Virginia Department of Business Assistance is being upfront with current and future business owners about the state of the economy.
"We're telling people the realities, we're asking them to examine their own passion. We want to create for them, a research rich environment so they know where to go, they know how to find answers to their questions," says Fuller. Berryville resident James Hart wants to start an on-line business. "I woke up one morning and I was searching for a job and I was like, there needs to be a better way," says Hart.
Hart wants to create a website where employees can give feedback on their employer. Hart says anyone could access the site. Potential employees could find out more about the atmosphere of a business they're interested in working for; employees could anonymously express their concerns; and employers could find out their employees concerns. Hart says he wants to gain knowledge before he gets started.
"With the economy the way it is, there are a lot of businesses out there that didn't have the proper training, and resources that this seminar, opportunity gave to us," says Hart.
"This decision is not an overnight, people will not walk out of here today, immediately going to start a business, but rather they're going to explore the channels and the resources we have introduced to them," says Fuller.
More than 120 workshops have been held around Virginia reaching more than 6,000 people. A workshop is being planned in Winchester, but no date has been set.