Mayor John Peyton proclaimed Friday, Nov.14, as “Small Business Appreciation Day” in Jacksonville. Following his speech at the 2nd Annual America's Small Business-State of the Sector Summit, the mayor visited two local small businesses: CDH Home Care, Inc. and Ohmega Group, LLC.
CDH Home Care specializes in home care needs for the elderly and disabled and Ohmega Group is an engineering consulting firm providing electrical, mechanical, plumbing and fire protection design and construction phase services.
Small businesses play a vital role in Jacksonville's economy with 95 percent of local businesses employing 50 people or fewer. These small businesses account for approximately 90 percent of all of business activity in Jacksonville.
“Jacksonville's small businesses are the foundation of our local economy,” said Mayor Peyton. ”As the men and women who own and operate these businesses every day feel the strain of the current economic environment they continue to play an important role to provide economic opportunity for our residents. Today, I am proud to recognize their work and reiterate the city's support for our local small business owners.”
The city created the Jacksonville Small and Emerging Business (JSEB) program to remove any and all “structural barriers to success,” by providing not only contracting opportunities but also bonding assistance, access to capital, accounting scholarships and focused business training. Currently, 400 firms have been certified as JSEBs.
The city has many great agency partners that help in the development of small businesses. UNF's Small Business Development Center has helped 38 new businesses obtain more than $10.6 million in capital that created or retained 275 jobs. The Small Business Development Center brings its services directly to underserved areas including neighborhoods in Northwest Jacksonville, downtown and parts of Arlington.
Similar to the SBDC services, the city has a Northwest Jacksonville Economic Development Fund that targets specific areas of Jacksonville with a major focus to assist small businesses. This fund was created with $25 million from the Better Jacksonville Plan. Recent successful projects include: Shoppes of Norfolk including the new Bravo grocery store, Pearl Plaza, and the relocation of Farmers' Market and Lofts at Main.