Latah County Commissioner Tom Lamar
Community Support For Entrepreneurs
An entrepreneur can have the perfect idea and know just what they need to do, but if they don’t have community support, which includes government, it’s hard to get off the ground. Government policies, ranging from education to infrastructure to zoning, can help entrepreneurs get on their way and make great businesses happen. That’s why the Latah County Commissioners have decided to sponsor the 2017 Be the Entrepreneur Bootcamp.™
“The goal of the government of Latah County is to best serve the people of Latah County,” said Commissioner Tom Lamar. “We have a particular interest in advancing rural development of Latah County.”
Rural Entrepreneur Development
Rural development includes the BTE Bootcamp™ focuses, such as value-added agriculture and outdoor recreation, he said. The other focus tracks are technology and health care, both of which are also important in rural areas and both of which can help Latah County become a destination in the Northwest.
“The Bootcamp provides an excellent opportunity for entrepreneurs to gain expertise in specific business development techniques; it helps these same people develop contacts with investors, advisors, and others to help them develop their business,” Lamar said. “And the rest of Latah County benefits when local entrepreneurs receive these tangible encouragements for developing and growing their businesses here at home through the potential of job creation.”
Legislative, Executive And Judicial Responsibilities
The three Commissioners — Lamar, Dave McGraw and Richard Walser — set the budget, county policies, and manage a variety of staff activities. The Board of Commissioners is the only office that has legislative, executive and judicial responsibilities and duties. The Commissioners have the power to pass ordinances, adopt budgets, fix tax levy rate and oversee the county budget. They are charged with the duty of supervising the official conduct of all county officers as their conduct relates to public monies and revenues, as well as supervising appointed boards and committees. They also act as the Board of Equalization, which sits as a quasi-judicial body to hear various matters including planning and zoning requests, property valuation protests and requests for cancellation of taxes, and indigent issues among many others.
“We want to promote business development and job growth within our region, and specifically within Latah County,” Lamar said. “(The Bootcamp) allows local entrepreneurs to attend and engage in an excellent program that will help train them as individuals, and allow their business to grow locally. We see this as an investment in some of the good ideas that are being developed by aspiring and inspiring local business creators.”
Consistent County Commission Entrepreneur Support
This is not the Latah County Commissioners’ first time supporting the Bootcamp. They have sponsored a scholarship for each of the last three Bootcamps, sending a Latah County entrepreneur into the five-day intensive business camp. This will be the Bootcamp’s fourth year. The County Commissioners also invite Bootcamp alumni to present their business ideas in a public forum, Lamar said.
But the Latah County Commissioners aren’t just helping individual campers; they’re also trying to help the Palouse’s business community grow. The Commissioners recently helped three new breweries in Latah County acquire federal brewing permits, which hastened their ability to sell their product and serve customers, and they worked with vineyards and wineries in the region to establish the Lewis-Clark Valley American Viticulture Area (AVA), which create a unique wine region.
“Without the Bootcamp, it would be too easy for local entrepreneurs to look elsewhere for this same kind of training, and take their ideas and jobs elsewhere,” Lamar said. “We want to see this program continue to provide an excellent pathway for local leaders to develop their ideas.”
Latah County Businesses Help Everyone’s Bottom Line
Supporting businesses and industry isn’t just good for the region’s reputation and tourism, although it is good for that, Lamar said. It’s also good for tax coffers and everyone’s bottom line.
“There is also the potential for private revenue generation which will likely be spent locally in other existing businesses,” Lamar said. “Ultimately, there is the possibility of local tax revenue generation that can help to provide some benefits to residents of Latah County.”