Later this year, Inyo County will open a business resource center to help existing businesses and new entrepreneurs

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The Inyo County Business Resource Center is expected to be operational later this year, just in time to help existing businesses and encourage new entrepreneurs as the country recovers
over the past two years of COVID.

The physical center, on Bishop’s Main Street, will soon begin the transformation process
from Crafters’ Mall to a center staffed to help both grow the economy and provide livelihoods
paid employment. Hopefully local residents who dream of starting a business will take
seize the opportunity to turn this dream into reality.

The task of developing a business plan for the Center was given to AccompanyCo six months
there is, with subsidies. Over the past two weeks, the consultants have presented their work
produced to the Board of Supervisors and Bishop City Council.

Work is also beginning on the physical building with plans for workstations, offices and
meeting rooms. The Center will serve as an incubator for young entrepreneurs, an establishment
point that will hopefully end with the new business taking up physical space in Bishop. the
intention, to help future business owners navigate the maze of permits, licenses,
training and funding

The first part of AccompanyCo’s presentation referred to a study done earlier, indicating
the county was “losing” $77 million in retail sales. Translation: it’s the number of inhabitants
spending online or out of the region. In addition to retail sales, the president of AccompanyCo
Thea Chase explained the potential growth of environmental science and consulting as well as
opportunities for renewable energy and manufacturing.

So how will the Center work, where will it start? Chase used a funnel analogy, identified
as a browser program for future business owners to turn an idea into a successful business.
In theory, Center staff will guide clients through the authorization and licensing process, work with clients and lenders on business start-up financing, and assist with training on start-up basics and of operating a business.

In terms of business opportunities, environmental and climate-related businesses,
everything from cleaning to mitigation was obvious potential, in addition to retail and
manufacturing.

The initial study was grant funded by the US Department of Agriculture. With the
on the set of COVID hindering some of the consultant’s work, funds from this initial grant are
available for AccompanyCo to implement the plan. With an expected amount of $293,000 to run and
staff the center by 2026, the consultants referenced California grant programs available to help
cover these costs.

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