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Where and how local small businesses can get free help

National Small Business Week is Sept. 22-24

Helping small businesses through the pandemic
Helping small businesses through the pandemic

ROANOKE, Va. – The importance of supporting our small businesses has come to the forefront these past several months. While many places are back open, entrepreneurs are still facing some pretty harsh realities.

Roanoke Regional Small Business Development Center has been there for local businesses every step of the way with free help on loan assistance applications and other resources.

Director Amanda Forrester told 10 News they don’t have an exact number of how many businesses have closed for good because that doesn’t get reported until a business owner does their taxes or when they don’t renew their business license.

Despite what those numbers are, Forrester understands pushing through this pandemic is difficult but wants to remind businesses in the region they don’t need to go through it alone, and closing a business isn’t the only option.

“We do know nationally they’re predicting that 40 % right now have closed, I don’t feel like that’s our case in our region but there are certainly businesses closed and we don’t know if it’s permanent or not. I do want to encourage those folks before you close your doors come see us,” said Forrester.

Another huge resource available is the U.S. Small Business Administration’s National Business Week. It’s an annual event. This year the week was scheduled for May but was rescheduled to September 22-26.

The virtual event will offer valuable resources for entrepreneurs from the click of a mouse.

Throughout the three days, the U.S. Small Business Administration will recognize national award winners, name the 2020 National Small Business Person of the Year and most importantly, host discussions and panels with industry experts.

Forrester said this year’s National Small Business Week will have a heavy focus on resilience. She says the Roanoke region is sometimes referred to as Virginia’s small business capital, so this week could be a game-changer for local businesses.

“Particularly in our region, small businesses are the heart of our communities and they employ the majority of people. Depending on the report you look at up to 90% of employees work for a small business so it’s just huge in this area and it’s a great time to bring attention to that," Forrester said.

If you can’t make it, Roanoke Regional Small Business Development Center will take note of the super beneficial moments throughout the virtual event and replay it during a virtual watch party.

To register for National Small Business Week click here.

About the Author:

You can currently catch Megan Woods living out her wildest dreams as a reporter every weekday morning on Virginia Today.