YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — The City of Youngstown held a Business Solutions Summit Wednesday morning with a focus on seeing small businesses thrive. But what is the city doing to attract business owners to plant their roots here?
First-Ward Councilman Julius Oliver sat on a panel Wednesday at the Business Solutions Summit for the city of Youngstown. He spoke about different resources for potential small businesses.
“We’re offering facade grants right now, so if you want to upgrade the frontage of your building or your business — if you put $5,000 into it, the city will put $5,000 into it. You put $40,000 into it, the city will put $40,000 into it, until that fund runs out,” Oliver said.
The city may have grants and partnerships to help small businesses plant their roots; however, locals have seen a local business leave downtown.
“Because some of those access points to here, business was blocked. So we learned from those mistakes. So now we’re going to make sure that these businesses continue have access during the construction phase,” Oliver said.
On the other hand, Carmella Williams who owns Deep Roots Self Care Company in the Idora Neighborhood has found success in the city. Her company is like no other in the area.
“It’s not easy, you know, it’s not easy at all. But it’s worth it every day because I know that it’s not just me in business, it’s me investing in this community,” Williams said.
“Whatever is not here, you’re open to put it here,” Oliver said. “Every problem in Youngstown is a business waiting to be birthed. And we want to be able to help that happen.”
Oliver encourages those interested in starting a business to call the mayor’s office.
“What we don’t want individuals to do is to buy a property and come to us after the fact or when they’re going through the process they need to know here are the steps to become a successful business owner in the city of Youngstown,” said Mayor Tito Brown.
As far as future plans with construction, Councilman Oliver said they are working with various departments to make sure customers know that the businesses are still open despite road closures.