ANCA sets up fam tour program for aspiring small business owners

SARANAC LAKE — A regional partnership focused on retaining small businesses in northern New York has launched a program that welcomes aspiring entrepreneurs to visit communities where they might be interested in operating a business.

The North Country Center for Businesses in Transition partnership has launched its Familiarization Tour Program, which is designed to introduce potential business owners to local business communities, economic development organizations, and the natural, recreational and cultural assets the region offers.

The tours will allow participants to explore Franklin County and surrounding North Country counties, visit current businesses for sale, tour local communities with representatives from chambers of commerce and economic development organizations and shadow business owners who are working with CBIT to transition their operations to new owners. The tours will be partially or fully subsidized for eligible participants and customizable to their unique interests.

“The trips will be tailored to meet the needs of a wide variety of participants in a short amount of time,” Adirondack North Country Association Entrepreneurial Economy Program Director Danielle Delaini said. “It will be a whirlwind tour for most. In just a few days, individuals will make the number of connections they would typically need to make over the course of several months in order to take over an existing business.”

Delaini, who has coordinated the CBIT partnership since ANCA established the program in 2018, said tour participants will have the opportunity to meet with ANCA and CBIT staff in Saranac Lake and travel throughout the North Country to meet other economic development leaders, small business resource partners, and owners of existing businesses over the course of two or three days.

The first of its kind in the region, the Familiarization Tour Program aims to welcome 40 to 60 aspiring business owners for curated North Country tours in 2023. Thanks to funding support from National Grid and the Franklin County Government Office of Economic Development, free or partially subsidized stays are available for eligible individuals who have already begun planning to purchase a business.

The familiarization tours can help participants develop a buyer profile that states their wants and needs; create a business plan with support from SUNY Canton Small Business Development Center; enroll in a personal financing program through the Adirondack Economic Development Corporation; and learn about flexible financing opportunities available through industrial development agencies.

In the four years since ANCA launched the Center for Businesses in Transition program, the partnership has demonstrated significant success supporting buyers and sellers through the business transition process. Citing that the average business transition takes three to five years to complete, Delaini said it is remarkable that CBIT — which serves 14 counties in northern New York — supported 37 successful ownership transitions during that period. She said the 215 businesses that accessed CBIT services during this period represent over 1,040 full- and part-time jobs retained in the region.

“These successes are testament to the CBIT team’s strong relationships with business owners and support professionals across the region, as well as their commitment to the entrepreneurs whose hard work is keeping the doors open for so many North Country businesses,” ANCA Executive Director Elizabeth Cooper said. “We are excited to build on these positive impacts by sharing insights into the incredible opportunities and benefits this region offers for small business owners. People will be able to experience some of those insights firsthand as well as other attributes that make this region special — its immense beauty, access to outdoor recreation and other aspects that are hard to describe in words.”

For more information about the Familiarization Tour Program, visit bit.ly/CBITtour or contact transitions@adirondack.org.

CBIT was established by ANCA in 2018 with grant funding from the Northern Regional Border Commission to address the loss of area businesses by providing matchmaking services with potential buyers, access to planning tools, and connection with existing services.

CBIT services have expanded to provide support for aspiring entrepreneurs who wish to purchase an existing business.

CBIT is comprised of 13 community liaisons and partners across ANCA’s 14-county service area, including representatives from the Adirondack Economic Development Corporation, Adirondack Park Agency Economic Services, Essex County Industrial Development Agency, Franklin County Economic Development Corporation, Greater Watertown-North Country Chamber of Commerce, Hamilton County Economic Development, Lewis County Economic Development, LivingADK, St. Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce, Saranac Lake Area Chamber of Commerce, SUNY Canton Small Business Development Center, Ti-Alliance, and Ticonderoga Area Chamber of Commerce.

Starting at $1.44/week.

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