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The Benefits of Starting a Small Business in Cumberland Valley

Starting small businesses in Pennsylvania can be a challenging process. However, the Cumberland Valley area is excellent for new owners to experience growth, develop a strong community bond and drive more revenue to their product or service.

Whether you want to open a new restaurant in Cumberland Valley or plan to create your own antique store, exploring the benefits of starting a business in Pennsylvania can help you make the right decision for your business’s location.

Benefits of Starting a Small Business

The benefits of starting a business in Cumberland Valley far outweigh any challenges you might face. When creating a small business in Pennsylvania, you can experience personal rewards, enjoy being your own boss and take part in programs or tax credits to help you get started or keep up with finances.

Here are six advantages of starting a business in Cumberland Valley:

1. Connected Business Resources

Those who work in Cumberland County can connect with a variety of resources to help them succeed with their small business. Some resources include:

  • SBDC: The Small Business Development Center provides resources, training and consulting services to small business entrepreneurs in Cumberland County. They will help you make informed decisions for your business.
  • Ben Franklin Technology Partners: BFTP is a leading technology partner with innovative investments in universities, businesses and organizations. They aim to increase the growth of technology-based industries in Pennsylvania.
  • Local Chambers of Commerce: The four local Chambers of Commerce in Cumberland County can help you grow your business while investing in the community.

2. Access To Nearby Metropolitan Regions

When you grow a small business in Cumberland County, you have access to major metropolitan areas using I-83, I-81 and the Turnpike. For example, the city of Harrisburg is close by. It has a rich history, many industries and is the capital of Pennsylvania. Lancaster and York are popular spots as well. Their neighboring cities are growing, with a variety of shops, restaurants and small business ventures to explore.

You can also access Philadelphia, the largest city in Pennsylvania, and other major metropolitan regions like Hershey, Pittsburgh, Reading, Scranton, Wilkes Barre, Gettysburg and Bloomsburg.

Cumberland County is also close to some major U.S. cities. Within a day, you can reach many northeast U.S. cities, including some parts of Canada. You can reach major metropolitan areas in a few hours, including Philadelphia, New York City, Baltimore, and Washington, D.C.

3. Great Place To Live and Work

Cumberland County is a great place to start a small business and a wonderful place to call home. The Cumberland Valley area has many attractions, including the Appalachian Trail, U.S. Army Heritage Center, Williams Grove Speedway and the Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet. Cumberland County is also in close proximity to other regional attractions, such as Hersheypark or the Gettysburg National Military Park.

4. Settle in Cumberland County, Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania has been listed as the fourth-best state to start a business. In 2023, Forbes reported that Pennsylvania offered many resources and funding opportunities for new business startups and based their metrics on business costs, climate and financial accessibility. This means your small business is more likely to grow and succeed in the state.

Cumberland County is also the fastest-growing county in PA, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, making it a great spot to settle down.

5. Use Pennsylvania Business Incentives

Those who open small businesses in Pennsylvania can enjoy business incentives and programs. For example, The Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) benefits certain businesses in Pennsylvania opportunity zones. Opportunity zone programs work to increase economic development and create more jobs in distressed areas. If you start a business in the area, you might benefit from deferred taxes on prior gains.

You might also enjoy benefits from the Job Creation Tax Credit (JCTC) program. If you’ve created a set amount of jobs in three years, you can claim up to $1,000 in tax credits.

6. Good Workforce

You are more likely to find good employees willing to work in your area. According to the Labor and Industry’s Center for Workforce Innovation and Analysis, Cumberland County’s unemployment rate is lower than the state average. The report states that unemployment is less than 3%.

Cumberland County also has diverse industries. Some of the top industries in the area include:

  • Transportation and warehousing
  • Health care and social assistance
  • Retail trade
  • Accommodation and food service
  • Manufacturing
  • Agriculture and agri-business
  • Professional and technical services

Challenges of Starting a Small Business

Starting a small business for the first time is not without its challenges. From figuring out finances to deciding the best location, learning how to plan the startup process can be difficult. Here are a few common challenges you might experience when starting a small business:

  • Deciding strengths and weaknesses: When starting a small business, step back and evaluate your strengths and weaknesses. Before investing time, money and effort into small business creation, you want to be sure you can handle self-employment. Can you manage your time well, or will you struggle with such a flexible schedule? Are you in a position in your life to dedicate enough time and energy to your new venture?
  • Determining startup costs: Determining your budget and expenses for the startup is integral. Can you meet the expenses alone, or will you take out a loan? If you can’t afford most of your essential machines or equipment, reevaluating your plan might be a good idea. You want to ensure a high return on investment for your startup costs.
  • Researching the marketplace: Evaluate your area’s competition and decide whether your business would thrive. If you think your business might not succeed amongst the competition, you might want to evaluate other locations.
  • Outlining business goals: Some new business owners may find it challenging to outline their goals clearly. Consider what you want to do with your business and what you consider successful.
  • Disadvantages specific to your business type: If you have an LLC, it might have limited longevity and become dissolved, should a member leave. Incorporations experience higher taxes but can find assistance through tax credit programs.

How We Can Help You in the Process

The Cumberland Area Economic Development Corporation (CAEDC) assists new small business owners who need help during the process. If you are a small business owner getting started as an entrepreneur or an owner who wants to buy and expand an existing business, consider using CAEDC’s services.

Small business owners require a reliable plan to keep them focused during business creation. The CAEDC can help you navigate every step of the process while acting as a point person for your businesses and the government.

Here are a few services the CAEDC offers:

  • Entrepreneur and small business resources: The CAEDC offers various resources for new small business owners needing development and plan implementation assistance.
  • Development center: Our Small Business Development Center is located at Shippensburg University, and you can explore programs and classes to help you plan.
  • Free training programs: At Harrisburg Area Community College, we offer training programs for your employees.
  • Site selection services: We can help you find and develop new ideas for your new location.
  • Fixed-rate loan programs: Explore our programs to help you buy the necessary equipment, machines and locations.
  • Financing programs: Explore our financing programs to help you make a budget, purchase the right equipment, market your business and create effective signage.

Start Your Small Business With Help From CAEDC

As a nonprofit organization, Cumberland Area Economic Development Corporation (CAEDC) works with small business owners or new entrepreneurs who want to open a new business in the Cumberland Valley area. Founded in 2005, our authorized agency has partnered with various businesses in the area to help leverage economic development and promote tourism assets. We offer multiple programs and services to support the growth of small businesses in Cumberland.

Contact us today to speak to a representative!

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