, Port Arthur, Texas

May 22, 2012

Small business holds important place in our economy

The Port Arthur News

PORT ARTHUR — The importance of small business to the local economy and the successes being recorded by a number of local small businesses were in the spotlight last week at the 2012 Small Business Awards Banquet sponsored by the Lamar State College-Port Arthur Small Business Development Center. The chambers of commerce in Port Arthur, Port Neches, Nederland and Groves each joined the SBDC at the banquet in honoring one of their members in the small business category.

We often think of industry as the main source of jobs and revenue in this area. And it’s true that the major refiners and other industrial facilities provide primary jobs that are a foundation of our economy. But the small businesses, the people with the entrepreneurial spirit and the thousands of offshoot jobs they create, give the area character and spread the vitality of the economy throughout the community.

The businesses recognized by the SBDC this year have some amazing stories all based on the theme of having a business idea, taking a risk and nurturing the businesses into a success. Their stories are told on page C1 of today’s paper and we join the SBDC in congratulating them for their willingness to invest themselves and their treasure in our community.

The SBDC, under the direction of Linda Tate with the able assistance of business counselor Conrad Cooper, has played a large role in helping business throughout Mid- and South Jefferson County get beyond the idea stage to become operational businesses. Since its inception in 1998, the SBDC can point to 2,164 jobs created by businesses it helped get off the ground, more than $70 million in loans/equity obtained for business startups and 274 new businesses started. The center has held 467 training classes and has assisted 3,027 clients.

The petrochemical industry will continue to be the bedrock upon which our local economy is built. But it is the small businesses that make us more than a refinery town. Small business provide color on the canvas that without them would only be drawn in steel gray.