By KEVIN LYON
(WARRENSBURG, Mo., digitalBURG) – Two local civic leaders recently met at the White House to discuss how to network nationwide on jobs and economic growth.
Dozens of cities from across the country sent local business leaders to learn how to work together with each other and with the federal government. Tamara Long, president of the Warrensburg Chamber of Commerce, and Mary Castro, public relations director for the Warrensburg R-6 School District, made the trip to Washington, D.C.
“It was a great opportunity for Warrensburg to be there,” Long said.
The four-hour meeting took place last Thursday and focused on helping communities work to create jobs and improve loan access for local businesses. Long and Castro learned more about federal programs that help businesses and about new ways to share information about these programs.
Talks with members of the Small Business Administration and the International Trade Commission got both Long and Castro interested in the Community Advantage program, which helps people who are looking to start small businesses secure loans of up to $250,000. Another was the Veterans Advantage program, which helps provide loans to veterans looking to start their own businesses.
“If we get our SBA folks together with our banks and the military, we’ve got all three avenues here,” Long said. “What do we have to do to make it happen?”
Long and Castro are now working to share what they learned by including the information in newsletters and online.
“If (anyone) wants to start a business, they’re focused on that,” Long said. “If we can help make their funding easier, they’ve got more time to focus on that.”
Long and Castro also met with Sen. Claire McCaskill to talk about business concerns in Warrensburg and JohnsonCounty.
“How often were we going to get invited?” Castro said. “If we didn’t take advantage of that, then shame on us.”
Long learned about the trip by participating in regular conference calls with the White House Business Council.