NEW STRAITSVILLE — Rural Action has given a grant to The Southern Perry Incubation Center (SPICE) for $10,000. The money awarded to SPICE will go towards community investments to identify, interview and promote small businesses in New Straitsville, Shawnee, and Corning within Southern Perry County.

Rural Action sent out a press release stating that they have given a grant to SPICE in order to help local entrepreneurs and businesses to resources they may need in order to stay afloat. Local business owners with five or less employees make up the majority of small businesses in the State of Ohio.

Rural Action received a grant from the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) in 2016 to help multiple communities around Southeast Ohio. A portion of that grant was given to SPICE in New Straitsville to build a stronger network with the local businesses and owners. They gave Rural Action a detailed plan of what they plan to do in the area in an application.

“We saw their plan was solid and we were able to follow up with them in order to implement it,” Entrepreneurial Communities Coach Dan Vorisek told The Perry County Tribune.

Rural Action focuses on regional community development and has done work in 21 counties in Ohio. The regional organization works with community members and leaders on a range of quality of life, environmental and economic projects across rural Appalachian Ohio.

Rural Action’s work revolves around helping small communities grow local business and jobs, restoring the local environment and “cultivating the next generation of leaders,” according to the nonprofit’s website. The organization has over 600 members in its network throughout Appalachian Ohio.

The grant will help continue the work started by the Southern Perry Network which is a group of community members who work on boosting and supporting local business throughout Southern Perry County.

In early 2018, the group was formed after a meeting with members of the Rural Action’s Entrepreneurial Communities. The group is focussed on connecting local businesses to resources they need in order to continue their livelihood and stay afloat.

SPICE is a private nonprofit organization that is located in the southern part of Perry County. The entrepreneurial organization was started in the year 2000 by a group of citizens who were concerned about the economic conditions in Southern Perry County.

“The whole idea is to have more resources, marketing, technical assistance, events and micro loans that can help the business owners grow and stay around,” Vorisek said.

The SPICE office in New Straitsville will be responsible for overseeing how the grant will be spent. They came up with a plan based off of a survey that was sent out to local business owners. The organization works with communities by offering training workshops.

They also have a network of other organizations they partner with such as Southern Perry Business Support Network, Perry County Chamber of Commerce, AceNet, Rural Action and the Small Business Development Center. They also offer technical assistance for business planning, marketing, pricing, financial projections and license permits.

Rural Action and SPICE both have similar goals and aspirations for small local businesses in Perry County. Vorisek stated that the one thing that is missing for small business owners was the accessibility to funds to improve and expand business interests.

“We want those businesses to able to grow,” Vorisek said. “To add employees, to add products, to add service and to add to (their) payroll.”

Vorisek also stated that businesses that do grow end up leaving the Southern Perry County area. With the help of SPICE as well as other future projects, Vorisek hopes that giving small businesses resources and networking opportunities will keep local business owners in the area instead of leaving.

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