IVEDC and GO-Biz partner to bring business development workshops to Imperial County

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Local business owners sign in for a business development workshop hosted by IVEDC and GO-Biz Wednesday in El Centro.

EL CENTRO - The Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz), in partnership with the Imperial Valley Economic Development Corporation (IVEDC), hosted a presentation regarding tax opportunities for business owners and entrepreneurs Wednesday. The workshop provided information for specific tax exemptions, loans, and other business possibilities.

The Imperial Valley Economic Development Corporation (IVEDC), a local non-profit agency, has a goal to expand and develop the local economy. To achieve this goal, the agency attempts to connect local business owners to projects, organizations, and other business owners.

Sean Wilcock, vice president of IVEDC’s Business Services, has partnered with GO-Biz to bring a statewide program to the Imperial Valley. The two groups have worked together several times in the last five years to facilitate presentations and events to help expand businesses.

“It’s all about sustainability and lowering the cost of doing business, so the businesses can grow,” said Wilcock.

As local business owners arrived for the workshop Wednesday, they conversed, exchanged business cards, and waited for the presentation to begin.

Claudio Leyva, a local businesswoman, said she has wanted to be a part of the program since she first heard about it. The seating for these presentations is limited and several times, Leyva said she was unsuccessful in registering because of the high demand for the workshop. This time, Leyva signed up for the presentation right away, claiming she needs help for her business.

“We’ve been waiting to expand our business, but we need help, and these types of workshops are so needed in this area,” said Leyva.

According to a California state website, the unemployment rate of the Imperial Valley was at 20.5 percent in May 2017. Groups such as IVEDC and GO-Biz say they understand the importance of boosting this County’s economy and workforce.

“I’m a local economic developer and we have hosted these kinds of workshops for the past five years. We’ve had great success. I personally have helped three companies in Imperial County secure over $9 million in the past five years,” said Wilcock.

Kristen Kane, the deputy director of California Competes Tax Credit, spoke at the workshop and encouraged local businesses to apply for different loans and tax exemptions.

Kane explained the requirements to qualify for many of the available loans and exemptions. She said the small business loan guarantee program requires the business to consist of less than 750 employees to qualify for a loan of up to $20 million. The jump start loan program requires the applicant to live and work in Imperial County, she said.

“We’re really striving to bring funds to Imperial County,” said Kane.

IVEDC and GO-Biz have plans to host more workshops to help develop the economy, business, and the workforce in California and the Imperial County.