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Wenstrup says attitude change needed

Feels business regulations more punitive than parental

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Chillicothe, May 6, 2016 | Meghan Waters (202-225-3164) | comments

The backdrop couldn't have been more perfect for 2nd District U.S. Rep. Brad Wenstrup to talk about small business.

Making a visit to Schlegel's in downtown Chillicothe Friday, Wenstrup spoke with owner Liz Corzine and Chillicothe-Ross Chamber of Commerce CEO Randy Davies on the chamber's new Facebook Live feature while standing in front of an entire wall filled with locally produced items that included Two Roasting Joes coffee, Ben's Mustard and Buff Lo Dip. The visit was tied to Small Business Week and involved discussion of what can be done to help small businesses start and thrive.

"There's incentives for small businesses that are always being talked about or pursued, but I think that the regulatory world out of Washington, D.C., is probably the most restrictive to people when it comes to starting a business," Wenstrup said. "People have some good ideas, they may have the capital to get it going, but then they start to realize all the hoops they have to go through and it makes it very tough.

"We need rules for things, that makes us a better society overall to have rules and some regulations, but I find too often and what I'm hearing from business owners is the regulators are more punitive than parental. In other words, they're really out to say 'You're doing this wrong, you're doing that wrong,' rather than, 'Hey, how do we get you to a point where everything's good?'"

The Republican representative said there's a company that works with chemicals out of Cincinnati that should be a model of how business operates in terms of regulations by taking a proactive approach to working with regulators to ensure there won't be any problems rather than waiting until something goes wrong and fines are levied.

"I'd like to see us change the attitude on how we do some of these things," he said. "One of the things I've also said before is the regulations that carry the weight of law should come through Congress and not agencies. It's tough to start a small business today with all the boxes you have to check."

Davies said in Chillicothe, small businesses and entrepreneurs make up a large portion of the business community because it has proven to be a friendly environment for those business owners to take a chance on. In fact, he said, the chamber had three people in its office this week alone looking at starting a business locally.

An effort is currently underway to find a way to make that environment even more friendly and supportive.

"We're actually looking for a location where folks can just get together and chit chat," he said, adding that it would be a different type of environment than in a coffee house. "A place they could go and talk and then go experiment, go do things in breakout rooms. We're talking to some folks to build a kind of entrepreneur 'hub' of sorts. A lot of us can think, 'Yeah, that would make a good business,' but 'How do you do it?' 'How do you start it?' To be able to talk to somebody else who is able to do that or has done it — you're looking at insurance, how many employees, worker's comp, the best place to locate, that has a lot to weigh on you if you're going to start a business or not and how successful you're going to be."

The Chillicothe Downtown Associates is also taking a new step to promote a small business-friendly atmosphere by creating a new brochure this year that will showcase Downtown Associates members on a map of downtown. The brochure marks the first update in several years and is planned for a summer release.

Those not already members have until June 15 to join The Downtown Associates in order to be listed in the brochure. Annual cost to join and take advantage of all member benefits is $50 and membership forms are available online atChillicotheDowntown.com or via email at chillicothedowntown@gmail.com.

A national Small Business Leadership Summit will convene Tuesday in Washington, D.C., to tackle some of the top issues facing entrepreneurs, including access to capital and emerging technologies, asset building, critical workforce issues and women's entrepreneurship.

 Click here to read the original article in The Chillicothe Gazette.
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