TORONTO - The Business Resource Network was discussed during the Thursday luncheon meeting of the city chamber at the North River Avenue Christian Church.
Stephen Zdinak, business resource network account executive for the agency, discussed its function and the advantages of using the organization to connect with other business-related resources.
"I've been there since July," said Zdinak, adding he's had much experience in the small business world. "The BRN (for this area) was created in January.
"The BRN started with a grant from the (federal) department of labor in the Canton area, and it was very successful," continued Zdinak, adding the program soon expanded into Youngstown and surrounding areas, where it enjoyed continued success.
The network locally encompasses Jefferson, Harrison, Belmont and Carroll counties, and is a "one-stop" resource center connecting businesses with resources they may require, he said.
"There's no charge to the business, and it's all confidential," Zdinak said, adding the network has connections throughout the area.
He said the first step is a business interview with a BRN official to determine what a particular business may require.
"Once we complete that interview we download the information into a (database) program known as the Synchronist Business Information Center. "The interview takes about 50 to 60 minutes. Through that interview we can then determine a business' challenges."
Zdinak said the network has offered resources ranging from connecting businesses with contractors, financing agencies - even demolitions of buildings. The network also can connect businesses with federal agencies and other governmental resources, as well as those issuing grants for specific issues and projects.
"We've encountered all those issues," he said, adding the network acts as a conduit. "I will be involved as much as the client wants me to be. All we do is connect the dots."
Zdinak said the agency even works with nonprofit agencies, and it's all free assistance. He added business size doesn't matter.
"Instead of making 40 calls, you just call me," he said. "It's been very enlightening to me. We have gems in our area people don't even know about. We also are a member of the Toronto chamber."
The network is at 114 N. Fourth St., Steubenville. Zdinak can be reached at (740) 457-7521. For information, go to www.TheBRN.net.