Business Development Leader Melody Booker of the Delaware Economic Development Office was the guest speaker at this month's Rehoboth-Dewey Chamber of Commerce monthly meeting at Kings Creek Country Club. She explained what DEDO does, what resources they have to offer to business owners and entrepreneurs, and also shared some recent sucess stories.
While the economy is still recovering from "The Great Recession" at a pace that's much slower than anyone would like, Booker says that DEDO believes credit is becoming easier to access for business owners and entrepreneurs who either want to start their own businesses, or grow existing ones. She explained how the SSBCI (State Small Business Credit Initiative) encourages banks to be more willing to lend to people who want to start businesses, including more risky ones such as those in the culinary industry (bakeries, restaurants, etc.) DEDO buys 20 percent of the loan, and then works with a bank to get the business owner a prime interest rate. The business owner then pays back the loan to the bank, which then pays back DEDO. Booker also touted the DRIP Program, which offers money to farmers to pay for irrigation on their land through a revolving loan fund from the Department of Agriculture. She described how more land is being irrigated with help from the program, and that's increasing produce yields, which provides for more abundant local fruits and vegetables.
DEDO also offers Workforce Development Teams to help train people, including returning veterans and those who are unemployed, for careers. The teams work with the state Department of Labor and colleges and universities, and can train people for what are currently considered "hot" careers, such as information technology and skilled blue-collar and manufacturing jobs, such as welding. DEDO even offers training for aspiring entrepreneurs.
Before taking her current job at DEDO, Booker was a general sales manager and then general manager at a group of local radio stations. She says those roles helped her with her current role because she's able to stop and listen to learn what makes businesspeople tick, how they're marketing their business, and what they need to take their businesses to higher levels.
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