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Chamber preparing for entrepreneur friendly visit
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The Effingham Chamber of Commerce is only a few weeks away from earning the entrepreneur friendly community designation.

Chamber officials are planning a Feb. 19 reception to coincide with a visit from the state Department of Economic Development’s small business team. Chamber President Freddy Long said Chamber teams have interviewed small business owners across the county to find out their needs and have sent out questionnaires.

“We’re in the last stages of that,” he said. “Lord willing, we’ll accomplish that in a few weeks.”

Effingham Industrial Development Authority CEO John Henry also lent his support to the initiative.

“That should be really good,” he said. “I’m glad to see the Chamber focused on that. It will work right into what we’re doing.”

With the entrepreneur-friendly designation comes $25,000 for a small business resource center. The chamber is looking for the best spot to put that.

“We had envisioned using the loft upstairs,” Henry said of the Chamber/IDA building. “But it needs to be ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) compliant.”

Long said he hopes the entrepreneur friendly designation and what it entails will “help people looking at starting small businesses realize their goals and dreams.”

“We hope this will be a great tool for our banking industry and for people who want to know how to start a business and don’t know how to get started,” he said.