Braley touts small business legislation

GRINNELL – U.S. Rep. Bruce Braley, D-Iowa, stressed the importance of supporting small businesses during a tour of ASI Sign Systems in Grinnell Wednesday. Braley is in favor of legislation that would provide more financial support to Small Business Development Centers to help foster entrepreneurship.

This idea is in the Main Street Stabilization Bill that Braley first introduced in 2012 and just reintroduced to Congress recently.

“The point of it is to give Small Business Development Centers additional funding, a total of $5 million dollars,” Braley said.

These SBDCs provide resources to small businesses to be successful, especially during that first year when many new businesses fail, he said. They provide tutelage on business plans and try to help new businesses avoid the common pitfalls.

“For so many businesses not knowing what they don’t know is the most important challenge a lot of first time business owners face,” Braley said.

ASI Sign Systems utilized an SBDC to get started nearly three decades ago and owner Tom Latimer said it was key to giving his business a headstart.

“We’re a strong supporter of the SBDC,” Latimer said.

Braley said there are studies that show money spent for small business development goes a long way for the economy as businesses grow in employees and in paying taxes.

“You can see what a tremendous return on investment we get from this small amount of assistance they are able to obtain from SBDCs,” Braley said. “To me, it’s a very wise investment because it rolls over many times into the economy.”

ASI provides signs to health care centers, municipalities, car dealerships and a wide range of other businesses.

Latimer said in the last few years business has been tough, and they’ve had to reduce staff but he feels business has been picking up lately.

“The economy is coming back,” Latimer said.