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A helping hand for local entrepreneurs

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By Marlene McTigue

Capital Region Independent Media

Small Business Development Corporation’s Business Advisor Donna Williams speaks to a full house at a meeting of the RCS CBA last Thursday night. Marlene McTigue/Capital Region Independent Media

RAVENA — Members of the RCS Community Business Association gathered at Rail to River Brewing last Thursday night to hear about help with opening a business in Coeymans and Ravena.

Donna Williams, founder of Field Goods — the subscription-based farm delivery service that took the region by storm in the 2010s — and business advisor of the Small Business Development Corporation (SBDC) of Albany was the main speaker for the event.

Williams informed attendees of the free programming provided by the SBDC, which includes:

  • Business plan development.
  • Help with marketing plans.
  • Website building instruction.
  • Assistance with identifying grants and loans.
  • Help apply for MWBE (Minority and/or Women Owned Businesses Enterprise) certification.

Prospective and existing business owners were invited to seek help from Williams and other SBDC staff provided they fall into the small business designation of having 200 or fewer employees.

The crowd (including the Capital District Tourism Gnome – Henry) listens as Williams gives advice on small business creation. Marlene McTigue/Capital Region Independent Media

The SBDC is located at the ETECH building on the University at Albany campus. An appointment can be requested through their website at www.sbdcalbany.org.

Glenda Cukierski, branch manager at the National Bank of Coxsackie-Ravena and a member of the RCS CBA Board of Directors, had some advice for prospective business owners, having utilized the services of the organization herself.

“The services SBDC offers businesses that are looking to get started or looking to expand are invaluable,” Cukierski said. “They help you through the process of writing a business plan, at no charge, which can be used to secure loans or grants. With many more services offered to businesses in 11 counties with fewer than 200 employees, you should take advantage of their programs.”

Prior to the main speaker, attendees heard from RCS Superintendent of Schools Dr. Brian Bailey and School Business Administrator Jesse Boehme about the school budget for 2024-25 school year. Bailey informed the crowd that the school will be seeking an increase in the tax levy of 4.26% and sought the community’s support of the budget.  The school budget was passed the following Tuesday.

Superintendent of RCS Schools Dr. Brian Bailey and Business Administrator Jesse Boehme discussed the school’s proposed 2024-25 budget. Voters approved the budget the following Tuesday. Marlene McTigue/Capital Region Independent Media

After Williams finished her presentation, newly elected village trustee and Coeymans assistant building inspector and code enforcement officer Sante DeBacco spoke to the crowd about the process of opening a business in both the town and village. Attendees asked DeBacco questions relating to their specific business ideas.

Catering was provided by RCS Community Business Association member business, Frese’s Bakery.

Frese’s Bakery brought the goods at the May meeting of the RCS Community Business Association. Marlene McTigue/Capital Region Independent Media

The business group holds monthly programming and is open to any interested individuals or business owners. To find out more, you can visit their website at www.rcscba.com.

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