The Ocala/Marion County Chamber and Economic Partnership (CEP) is looking to empower entrepreneurship through the implementation of a new IMPACT program throughout key portions of Ocala.

The initiative was announced by CEP President Kevin Sheilley during the chamber’s annual presentation encore at the College of Central Florida Dassance Fine Arts Center.

“When we help individuals build businesses that employ not only themselves, but their neighbors, they’re able to provide goods and services in their communities and truly make a difference that creates opportunities for everyone,” said Sheilley of the program.

According to Sheilley, the new entrepreneurship initiative will be focused on helping entrepreneurs in West Ocala, Marion Oaks and Silver Springs Shores by providing access to resources and one-on-one training.

“We believe the most effective way to impact entrepreneurs is with one-on-one counseling,” said Sheilley. “We’re going to be making sure that we’re in West Ocala providing this assistance, in Marion Oaks, and in Silver Springs Shores.”

Sheilley indicated that the chamber is actively looking to hire a director of entrepreneurial services to help head up the initiative.

In addition to one-on-one training and assistance, the program will look to partner with the Kaufmann Foundation in helping certify smaller businesses and help them with the bidding process on the city and county level.

“There’s nothing that impacts communities more than entrepreneurship,” said Sheilley.