BELTON — Entrepreneurs and small-business owners can receive free one-on-one assistance through Grow Belton, which has programs monthly. The initiative is a collaboration of the Belton Area Chamber of Commerce and the Belton Economic Development Corporation.

The workshops started in January with the 1-2-3’s of Starting a Business. Startups are on the rise and clients often just need help in planning the different stages of opening a business, said Aimee Nesse, chamber business counselor.

The Feb. 20 workshop focused on avoiding legal pitfalls and accounting.

This is the second year of the program aimed at helping entrepreneurs and small-business owners.

Grow Belton workshops offer a variety of topics to help small businesses in Belton grow, said Marcus Carr, director of the Central Texas Business Resource Center.

“We’ve built a lot of relationships to help small businesses succeed,” Carr said. “Networking and outreaching are a big part of the program.”

Opening an errand service was a challenge for Brandi Simons, who attended the first workshops.

Simons is in the beginning stages of her Busy Bees Errand Service and said the workshops she attended helped her in many ways.

“The biggest advantage has been learning the setup steps as far as taxes, insurance basics and things like that,” Simons said. “The hardest part is getting the word out.”

Nesse, who conducted the first workshop, said it gives her great satisfaction to help ambitious people make their businesses success stories.

“When I go home, I feel like I have helped people,” Nesse said.

Simons offers services such as pet sitting, bill paying, shopping and any type of errand running.

She plans on attending the rest of the 2½-hour workshops that will be held once a month until June.

The initiative with the Belton Area Chamber of Commerce is to help the ongoing revitalization of the Belton community, said Cynthia Hernandez, executive director of the Belton Economic Development Center.

Helping provide resources for small businesses and those who want to start a business are part of the program she said.

This is an ongoing effort to encourage small businesses and entrepreneurs to provide resources available, said Stephanie O’Banion, CEO and president of the Belton chamber.

The group is working with the Belton Independent School District administration and students who show an interest in opening a business following graduation.

Counselors are available to help at any time, she said.

The next workshop is Thursday, with the topic “Bankrolling Your Business,” featuring discussions on the fundamentals of starting a business and preparation for self-employment.

An overview of licenses and permits will be provided.

The schedule for the following months include:

  • “Managing Customer Service” April 17.
  • “Franchising and Buying an Existing Business” May 15.
  • “What You Need to Know When Hiring Employees” June 19.
  • All classes are from 10 a.m. to noon at the Belton chamber, 412 E. Central Ave.

For information on the workshops or to RSVP, email

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