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National Restaurant Association - NRA plays role in small-business green seminar

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NRA plays role in small-business green seminar

The National Restaurant Association's Conserve initiative recently participated in a workshop in Los Angeles that showed small business owners how to access more information on investing in sustainability.

The event, which addressed how small business operators can tap into this information more easily and affordably, was called "Sustainability and Small Business: Opportunities for Helping Companies Grow Green". Held Dec. 10, it was sponsored by Verizon and co-hosted by the University of Southern California's Schwarzenegger Institute for State and Global Policy, the California Small Business Association and the Los Angeles Business Council.

"There is a lot of free information out there, but it does take a little bit of time to access it," said Jeff Clark, a consultant for the NRA's Conserve Sustainability Education Program. "There are resources available to help operators not only learn about going green, but also access capital, including loans. For example, the Small Business Administration offers a lot of information and education on how to apply for and get these funds."

Clark, who participated in a panel discussion at the seminar, said one key element that came to light during the event was that small business operators said they often don't have the time or resources necessary to research sustainable practices.

"We know that reaching out to small business owners is very difficult because they're extremely busy running their operations," he said. "Nevertheless, it is important we make them understand that a wealth of information exists, information that often isn't used, that can help them not only save money but also assist them in obtaining capital that will help them improve their operations."

According to data gathered by the SBA, small business operators spend approximately $60 billion a year and pay more than large businesses for energy on a per-unit basis.

"It is important to help companies understand they can save money and reduce their impact on the environment," Clark said. "It's good for the planet and it's good for business."

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