June 2015: Economically Speaking

Embrace change as an opportunity

Columnist Tracy Leonard

Columnist Tracy Leonard

There is nothing more constant than change. It is happening all around us, every day, all of the time. Yet, why do so many people fear change? When things take us out of our comfort zone, we may feel uncomfortable or have difficulty adjusting. Our options are to embrace it as an opportunity or to resist it out of fear. [Read more…]

May 2015: Economically Speaking

North country is poised for growth

Columnist Michelle Capone

Columnist Michelle Capone

The north country is home to many successful businesses, and each day new businesses are born. They are born at the dinner table or in the college lab or on the back of a napkin. Several programs and services are available to assist start-up or existing businesses. [Read more…]

April 2015: Economically Speaking

Health care IT improves outcomes

Columnist Corey Zeigler

Columnist Corey Zeigler

As health care consumers, we are all concerned with the cost, quality and access to care. But business owners have additional concerns regarding employee satisfaction, retention, health and productivity. [Read more…]

March 2015: Economically Speaking

Commit to new ideas to prosper

Columnist Tom Sullivan

Columnist Tom Sullivan

In today’s world we hear and see the words economic development used in so many ways that it creates a plethora of different expectations. As communities, we are all trying to improve our financial outlook in order that we may, hopefully, pay less in taxes. [Read more…]

February 2015: Economically Speaking

Make sense of health care reform

Columnist, Brian Marcolini

Columnist, Brian Marcolini

Health care reform comes in many different shapes and sizes. More than ever before, individuals are debating how to transform, what programs to be part of and with whom to partner. Nationally, people debate all varieties of reform, when in reality there are pros and cons to each option. [Read more…]

Destination marketing grows visits

Gary DeYoung

Gary DeYoung

Northern New Yorkers traveling outside the region are often surprised to discover that many people have never heard of the 1000 Islands. But, that’s not uncommon for tourism destinations that are regionally popular. As a Wisconsin native, I’d never heard of the Muskokas before moving to the Canadian border. Likewise, few people in the 1000 Islands seem to know about Door County, Wis., which is one of the most popular vacation regions in the Midwest.
These experiences illustrate that establishing a tourism “brand” that has broad reach is a challenge that requires significant resources, persistence and a focus on telling the brand’s story to out-of-area audiences. Even well-established tourism destinations have to work hard to keep their brand visible in primary markets and expand awareness in secondary markets. [Read more…]

Drum impact on region worth thanks

Michelle Capone

Michelle Capone

Recognized by Congress in 1999, May is National Military Appreciation Month when we celebrate Loyalty Day (May 1), Military Spouse Appreciation Day (May 11), VE Day (May 8), Armed Forces Day (May 19), and Memorial Day (May 30). It is a time when we reflect on the services and sacrifices of the men and women serving our great nation and thank them for their work. Yet, during this time we should also reflect on the many soldiers and their families who have called our communities home and who help to grow the culture and economy of our region. [Read more…]

Grow business with viable resource

Bill Owens

Bill Owens

As I travel across Northern New York and speak with many business leaders, I hear repeatedly about the need for economic development policies that support sustainable, market-driven small business expansion. One such federal agency, the well-known, yet often under-utilized Export-Import Bank is particularly well equipped to implement such policies so that U.S. companies may grow by accessing new export markets. [Read more…]

Banks have tools to reduce risk

Michelle Capone

Michelle Capone

In today’s financial climate banks have cash reserves available for lending to small businesses. But that does not necessarily mean a bank is willing to take 100 percent of the risk in a loan to a business. Regulatory agencies would not approve. Therefore, banks have tools available to reduce their risk when lending to businesses. Here are a few of the most popular examples:

The U.S. Small Business Administration 7(a) Loan Program is one of the most popular with banks. Depending on the size of the loan, the SBA will guarantee a portion of the loan that the bank makes to eligible borrowers. For example, if the bank loan is less than $150,000, the SBA may guarantee up to 85 percent of the loan amount. If the loan is over $150,000, then the SBA may guarantee up to 75 percent of the loan amount. The maximum bank loan amount for a SBA 7(a) loan guaranty is $5 million ($3.75 million SBA loan guaranty).

The SBA 7(a) Loan Program reduces a bank’s risk in lending to an eligible borrower. For example, if a bank commits to lend $300,000 to a business, the SBA may guarantee up to $225,000 of this loan amount. This leaves $75,000 in lending “risk” to the bank. I say “risk” because the bank will typically have collateral in the form of real estate, machinery and equipment and inventory, among other items, to secure its loan. [Read more…]

GIS programs have numerous uses

Star Carter

Star Carter

Geographic Information System is a computerized system used to store, analyze, retrieve and manipulate spatial data. Many people use GIS technology without realizing it. The last time you were in a new city looking for the nearest coffee shop, you may have used your smart phone’s map app to find it. MapQuest, Google Earth and the GPS device in your vehicle are all examples of GIS.

GIS technology is a combination of hardware, software and data that is used to collect, manage and display information. GIS has a wide range of uses and capabilities. Trucking and distribution companies use it to plan delivery routes. [Read more…]