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Published: Thursday, 2/23/2006

Officials to launch new small-business initiative

BY ERICA BLAKE
BLADE STAFF WRITER

When Lynne Gould first brought Australian meat pies to the Toledo area, it was in a small shop in Woodville Mall's food court.

Today, the family business is responsible for supplying more than 25,000 pies a month to grocery stores throughout Ohio and Michigan.

It's been nearly four years since Crikey's Genuine Australian Pies began bringing the food to the area, Ms. Gould said, an endeavor made successful by loans and training help the company received.

City of Toledo, Lucas County, and business officials plan to release information today about how other small businesses can prosper.

Labeled the Small Business Initiative, the plan is to highlight the types of assistance available for those companies with 10 or fewer employees. There is a related workforce initiatives liaison created by the Lucas County.

"There are federal monies to help small business. We tend to use federal dollars, but they often help our largest companies," said Tina Skeldon Wozniak, president of the Lucas County commissioners.

The goal of the initiative, she said, is to create opportunities for businesses. Along with the city and county, the partnership includes the Regional Growth Partnership, Toledo Regional Chamber of Commerce, Northwest Ohio Black Chamber Of Commerce, and the Northwest Ohio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

The plan is to send a representative into the businesses to develop personal relationships. The group also has a DVD which tells what is available at The Source, the county's economic and workforce development agency. Crikey's success is featured in that video.

Small businesses can get assistance by contacting Jason Wiencek, the county liaison, at 419-213-6322.

Contact Erica Blake at:

eblake@theblade.com

or 419-724-6076.



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