Secretary of state to discuss small business with chamber of commerce

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COLUMBIA – Jay Ashcroft will make his first visit to the Columbia Chamber of Commerce since becoming the Missouri secretary of state in January.

Ashcroft will talk about the status of small business with several Columbia Chamber of Commerce members, including president Matt McCormick.

“He has a lot of focus on the business community overall across the state, and he really focuses a lot on small business,” McCormick said.

He said one of the chamber's goals is to grow its government affairs strategy and work with state officials as much as possible.

“It’s all about building relationships, and it gives us and our businesses an opportunity to do so,” McCormick said.

According to last year’s Missouri Small Business Profile from the U.S. Small Business Administration, small businesses employed 1.1 million workers and made up more than 85 percent of businesses that export within the state.

McCormick said small business makes up about 80 percent of membership for the chamber.

“We have our larger economic drivers, but small businesses are kind of your backbone to the community,” McCormick said. “Small business is a very important part of what makes up Columbia and what makes our business community so great and very diverse.”

Marcus Files, chief technical consultant of a local computer repair business called “Informed Solutions”, said the session with Ashcroft could help prompt ideas to prevent larger industries from absorbing small business staffs within mid-Missouri.

“I’m hoping that there’s more encouragement as far as financial backing and a push for people in Missouri to look into small business needs,” Files said. “People in this community pull for small business because, in Columbia, that’s what we’re built around.”

Brittany Huhn, owner of Informed Solutions and the restaurant Taco Tuesday, Everyday, said the discussions could help further support of small business in Columbia.

“It’s nice in the aspect of knowing that we are supported by more than just locals,” Huhn said. “It’s nice to be noticed by local government and it’s crucial to our everyday operation.”

The reception begins at 4 p.m. on Tuesday at Logboat Brewing Company.