Saratoga County

Murphy hosts workshop to help small businesses

Small businessman Michael Jones of Hudson Falls said he has developed a micro-video camera system th

Small businessman Michael Jones of Hudson Falls said he has developed a micro-video camera system that some state and federal agencies want to buy in large quantities.

The problem, Jones said, is getting the money he needs for his company, JonesCAM Micro-Video Camera Systems, amid the difficult economy and tight credit market.

U.S. Rep. Scott Murphy, D-Glens Falls, hosted his first workshop Monday evening for owners of small businesses, like Jones, at Gowana Middle School on the Shenendehowa Central School District campus. About 50 people attended.

Murphy had gathered a panel of 10 experts in counseling small businesses and helping them obtain government-backed loans for their projects.

State Sen. Roy J. McDonald, R-Saratoga, introduced Murphy and thanked him for putting together the panel, which included an official from the federal Small Business Administration and district directors from state economic development agencies.

“Small businesses are once again the backbone of America,” McDonald said.

Murphy said the workshop was intended to show small business owners how they can gain access to the loans they need to grow their businesses.

The federal stimulus package is providing money to the Small Business Administration, allowing business owners easier access to credit so they can expand.

“Access to credit has become increasingly difficult,” said Bernard Paprocki, regional director for the Small Business Administration.

For this reason, the federal government has temporarily eliminated all up-front fees on small business loans and raised the government guarantee of the private loans from 75 percent to 90 percent.

These and other new SBA programs are aimed at creating jobs and jump-starting the stalled economy, Murphy said. Paprocki said that this program is available now but could end by the end of the year. He urged small business owners in need of loans to seek the loans they need now.

Mike Murray of the Adirondack Trust Co. in Saratoga Springs said banks want sound, realistic business plans to study when small businesses are seeking a loan.

“Bank financing has become tougher to get,” Murray said. He said that in the past, credit was much too easy for unqualified borrowers to obtain.

He said that Adirondack Trust generally likes to have the borrower provide 20 percent of the money he or she wants to borrow up front.

“Have a plan and be prepared” was Murray’s advice to small businesses.

Jones, the Hudson Falls businessman who needed capital to expand his small business, asked the experts, “How do we get past the point where we are at this point?”

Patrick MacKrell of the New York Business Development Corp. asked Jones if state and federal agencies were presenting Jones with orders that his small, three-person business could not fill.

Jones said yes. MacKrell said Jones should see him and discuss his needs.

Others participating in the panel discussion included Peter Wohl of the Empire State Development Corp., Peter Pritchard of the Center for Economic Growth, Donald Finney from the retired executives business counseling group called SCORE and William Brigham of the New York State Small Business Development Center.

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