City of Youngstown, Library and SCORE Partner to Provide Business Assistance

YOUNGSTOWN (December 1, 2015) — The City of Youngstown Community Planning and Economic Development Office along with SCORE and the Public Library of Youngstown and Mahoning County (PLYMC) today announced the three organizations are entering into a partnership to assist businesses in the community. The three groups signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) today formalizing the partnership.

The MOU explains: “The goals of the partnership are to promote the variety of resources available to each partner and to improve accessibility to the business community, and to leverage the different forms of assistance provided by the partners and offer support in a more comprehensive manner to strengthen the small business community.”

score

Pictured are (from left): Tom Carney and Frank Bordonaro of SCORE; T. Sharon Woodberry, City of Youngstown; Heidi Daniel and Stuart Gibbs, Library; and Charles Whitman of SCORE.

Mayor John McNally explained the City’s Community Planning and Economic Development Office has been focusing on the past 18 months on getting out to the community, meeting small business owners and trying to provide those business owners with more assistance.

The three organizations combine a wealth of knowledge from each of their unique strengths. The City’s Economic Development Division offers support for business development in its many forms:  entrepreneurship, business retention, expansion, or attraction.

SCORE is a national nonprofit association dedicated to helping small businesses get off the ground, grow and achieve their goals through education and mentorship. SCORE has helped the small business community for over fifty years. The work of SCORE is supported by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).

The Library created services for businesses in 1924, currently called the Business and Investment Center (BIC). The BIC has been serving customers in the Mahoning Valley through its various resources located in the Information Services Department at Main Library. It is the community’s source for information on business, finance, trade, demographics, import, export, marketing, and much more.

“On behalf of the Library I would like to say how thrilled we are to be in partnership with the City and SCORE and express our hope that more people will become aware of and utilize our business services and material, including our Business Librarian Stuart Gibbs, who is enthusiastic and knowledgeable,” said Heidi Daniel, PLYMC Executive Director.

T. Sharon Woodberry, Director of Community Planning and Economic Development, City of Youngstown, said, “We recognize how critical small business is to our local economy and from this collaborative effort, we hope to offer a strong support network to local companies.   A joint approach allows us to cross-market the valuable resources made available from our organizations and in turn makes these resources more accessible.”

Key among the unique offerings of the Library is the ability to book a one-on-one appointment with BIC librarian Stuart Gibbs. Book-A-Business Librarian appointments are free to any business in the city to help them discover the resources available at their Public Library.

Frank Bordonaro, Chapter Chair of Youngstown SCORE, noted that often small businesses don’t have the necessary time to research and find mentors and this partnership creates an opportunity for all three agencies to go out to them in our community.

The Library has long worked with SCORE members to facilitate their work as mentors for start-up businesses. The Library and the City will host SCORE office hours for mentorship and business plan assistance. SCORE mentors will give advice to their clients and the service is free and confidential. SCORE also provides expert resources with online counseling and tools at SCORE.org.

Stuart Gibbs notes, “The Public Library will provide access to resources for new and existing business owners to learn more about their own industry through demographics, industry trends, competitive intelligence, sample business plans, and locating suppliers – all free with a Library Card.” The Library is available by phone, email and on the web at LibraryVisit.org.

Participating in the announcement were:  John McNally, Mayor, City of Youngstown; T. Sharon Woodberry, Director of Community Planning/Economic Development, City of Youngstown; Heidi Daniel, Executive Director, PLYMC; Stuart Gibbs, Business Librarian, PLYMC; Frank Bordonaro, Chapter Chair, Youngstown SCORE; Tom Carney, Counselor, Youngstown SCORE; and Charles Whitman, Counselor, Youngstown SCORE.