Peach Alley incubator/co-work space nearing launch!

We are only a couple months away from launching OCEDA’s business incubator/remote work space! Located at 300 Peach Alley, the former Glenmary Home Missioners house is undergoing a renovation to become a state-of-the-art business incubator for entrepreneurs and a training facility for remote work careers. Remote jobs are the jobs of today and tomorrow, and have the potential to drastically transform rural economic development. In a 2013 report by Govloop, the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that 40% of the American workforce will be freelancers, temps, independent contractors and ‘solopreneurs’ by the year 2020. This project will provide the training, coaching, and facilities necessary to create jobs and foster entrepreneurship within Ohio County. It is particularly valuable for citizens who may not currently be part of our workforce, such as stay at home mothers, people with disabilities, displaced workers, or those with a criminal history.

 While initial skills training to become a remote service provider is important, another vital component is job placement. There are many work from home scams to which graduates could be susceptible. The job placement services provided will begin by developing relationships with reputable remote employers who will give preference to graduates of the training program. This will allow graduates to obtain employment more quickly and with less hassle than trying to sift through all of the possible scams littering the Internet. OCEDA will then help remote service providers retain and advance their careers through coaching and further training.

Initially, training at the facility will begin with virtual assistant services such as answering phones, managing appointments, booking trips, etc. As successful graduates enter the online workforce, there will be a corresponding demand for them to learn new skills to increase their earnings. Once this occurs, we will offer specialized training for specific high-demand areas of virtual services such as bookkeeping, project management, social media management, and website design, to name a few. This specialized training, along with continued one-on-one coaching, will allow graduates to continue growing and earning in their careers as virtual assistants.

Offering training and job placement for these types of opportunities to Ohio County and the surrounding areas will allow citizens to re-enter the workforce and find higher paying jobs that may not be available locally. As an added bonus, most of the positions will be paid by non-local companies, bringing outside funds to our community. 

In addition to helping to maintain and develop our local workforce, the incubator portion of this project will provide entrepreneurs of our community with the tools they need to work remotely, including: phone, Internet, computer equipment, a quiet workspace, and advice and collaboration from staff and other professionals using the space. This business model and facility are also ideal for professionals that would prefer to live in a rural community but have otherwise moved elsewhere due to job availability. Technical jobs such with large companies such as Google or Apple once required you to move to a large metropolitan area, but today’s technology allows people with a specialized skill-set to perform these jobs remotely and earn a salary comparable to that of a metropolitan area while enjoying the lower cost of living of our rural community.

OCEDA anticipates opening the space to the public in April for training and for lease. If you would like to sign up or learn more, email us at oceda@ohiocountyky.gov.

 

Shop Local Ohio County App

Coming soon! Shop Local Ohio County app!

Check out the video to learn how your business can benefit from the app. Placement on the app is free to all Chamber members and will be free to the public when ready to launch. Email chamber@ohiocounty.com with whatever deals, products, or information you would like placed in the app!

April 2016 Newsletter

"It is only the farmer who faithfully plants seeds in the Spring, who reaps a harvest in the Autumn." -B.C. Forbes

"It is only the farmer who faithfully plants seeds in the Spring, who reaps a harvest in the Autumn." -B.C. Forbes

The first Quarter of 2016 has been a busy one! Here are the highlights:

Movie Theater to Stay Open! OCEDA issued a loan to Luke Burden to expedite the purchase and renovation of Mall Cinema and the Tri-City Drive into his own Cinema 33. Economically, a movie theater provides more than just operational revenue; it gives people another reason to stay in Ohio County and spend more of their disposable income locally. We are happy to partner with Luke and believe he will bring more great things to Ohio County.

Business Incubator - OCEDA is applying for another USDA Rural Business Development Grant (like we received last year to help capitalize our Revolving Loan Fund) to help create a business incubator / co-work space. A business incubator is a place where beginning entrepreneurs can come and learn principles of entrepreneurship, receive training, and share ideas and best practices with one another. A co-work space is a cheap alternative to typical brick and mortar office leasing, allowing someone who performs their work remotely to have a dedicated office or cubicle, and share the office amenities with the rest of the occupants. More and more jobs are able to be done remotely by computer, so we want to be able to facilitate employment opportunities beyond our geographical labor market area.

Career Center - We are continuing to address the lack of federal Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act funding coming to our Career Center. It is important for you to know that OCEDA found that our and Hancock County's Career Centers are the only two in the state that are funded with county dollars. The rest are funded and staffed with federal partners. We have met quite a bit of resistance in our effort to bring Ohio County into the fold, but will continue the fight. Doing so will take the Career Center budget off the county books and hopefully provide a higher level of service to our job-seekers and employers.

Trail Town Task Force - OCEDA is assisting the Ohio County Trail Town Task Force in finding funding to increase the accessibility in and out of the Rough River for canoe/kayak purposes. The most important factor in becoming a Trail Town is connecting a trail to a town to increase both's attractiveness to outdoor recreational tourists. We feel that once we have an easily accessible 6-7 mile stretch of Rough River, we will have a strong case to make to the state's Adventure Tourism Department.

Internet Access - We share your concerns over the lack of sufficiency provided by the ConnectGRADD network. QWireless, the private contractor who operates the ConnectGRADD network, made a presentation to the ConnectGRADD Board indicating that they were going to start providing satellite internet through Exede. We are unsure yet as to what benefit that will be to the consumer over contracting directly with Exede, but we will continue to update you as we know more. We are currently looking into the possibility of applying for a POWER Initiative grant to upgrade the equipment on our towers.

The Small Business Training Seminar that was held on February 18th at the Ohio County Public Library Annex was a success with several entrepreneurs attending. We would like to thank GRADD, Owensboro Small Business Development Center, Kentucky Innovation Network and the Ohio County Public Library for their help with offering this training to our community. If you missed it another one will be held later this year.