Over the past year, one of our goals has been to improve collaboration among those organizations and to make sure that businesses know who to go to for different issues and challenges.Here’s our quick list of the resources of which you should be aware.
The Alexandria Small Business Development Center provides a broad range of expertise and issues on the daily challenges that plague business owners. We encourage owners to contact the center through their website to pose questions or problems. They also have access to a vast network of business consultants that can provide insight on more specific needs and help businesses at any stage and can make referrals and connections as needed.
Alexandria businesses should also be familiar with City government staff. They provide assistance on many business aspects from permits to transit matters to taxes to public health issues. They are approachable and glad to help owners comprehend requirements, even at the earliest stages of planning. If you’re not sure who to contact at the City, our center will gladly make those connections, but a great place to start is the Multi-Agency Permit Center (301 King St, Suite 4200).
The Alexandria Economic Development Partnership and Visit Alexandria (formerly Alexandria Convention and Visitor’s Association) – also have extensive expertise and information for businesses. We can do such things as help you find a business location or provide information on the latest trends in tourism. We also partner with the Alexandria Chamber of Commerce, which serves as an advocate for Alexandria businesses and offers owners excellent opportunities to connect and network with other professionals and business owners.
Alexandria’s neighborhood business associations offer tremendous opportunities to meet key players in your part of town, solutions to common problems, opportunities for collaborative marketing, and a means to avoid the isolation that is characteristic of small business ownership. These groups are very active and easy to engage. Most meet regularly and are always excited to have new members.
Small business organizations, service providers, and City staff work to stay current with one another so that we can all accurately refer to one another’s resources. Our office facilitates regular discussions among the key small business players in Alexandria to foster understanding of other programs, to harmonize our messages, and to validate that links and referral processes are current. Wherever businesses make their initial contact, our aim is to ensure their issue is addressed quickly and that they are seamlessly referred to the most effective resource for their needs.
Business owners not already familiar with the Alexandria Small Business Development Center are encouraged to connect to the center via its website, www.alexandriasbdc.org.