GREENVILLE — Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose participated in a business roundtable discussion with the Darke County Chamber of Commerce Thursday morning at the Brethren Retirement Community’s Chestnut Village Center, to promote entrepreneurship and economic development in the region.
“The Chamber was pleased when the Secretary of State’s office reached out to us last week to organize the round table discussion on election and business certification issues. We appreciate Chestnut Village being able to accommodate the meeting.” said Darke County Chamber President Peggy Emerson.
LaRose was joined by members of the Darke County Chamber of Commerce Business and Community Development roundtable, including Peggy Emerson, Darke County Chamber of Commerce President; Allison Brigitzer, Site Services Manager for BASF Company; Jeff Subler , CEO of Wayne HealthCare; John Warner, CEO Brethren Retirement Community; Sam Suter, Vice -president and Commercial Loans, GNB Banking Centers; Kent James, President and CEO, GNB Banking Center, and Taylor Dill, ANR Educator-Darke County, OSU Extension.
LaRose greeted all in attendance, explaining the importance of the Secretary of State’s office in promoting business growth throughout Ohio’s 88 counties. La Rose highlighted the exceptional growth within the small business sector over the past year, even amid concerns about how the COVID-19 pandemic would affect small businesses and start-ups.
“Ohio entrepreneurs faced the pandemic with grit, creativity and determination,” remarked LaRose. “By October, 2020, 171,000 new businesses started in the midst of a pandemic — a record shattering year.”
Under LaRose’s leadership, Ohio continues to help new start-up businesses thrive, keeping fees at $99, which are the lowest in the Midwest region to register and file. He cited the many opportunities that exist for women and minority businesses within Ohio, and encouraged everyone to explore the new drop down features on the Secretary of State’s website for small businesses and start-ups.
LaRose also highlighted several new developments that will help Ohio businesses in dealing with the growing threat of Business Identity Theft. Just as with personal identity theft, where scammers steal private information to commit fraud, business owners face the much the same, as all businesses must file with the Ohio Secretary of State’s office. Under LaRose’s direction, the Secretary of State’s office has developed the Business Filing Notification System, which is a free service that allows business owners to track any filing changes or updates made. By signing up with the State’s UCC Watchlist, Ohio business owners are notified when fraudulent and incorrect UCC filings are submitted in their name. LaRose urged everyone in attendance to get more information and sign up for this service at OhioSoS.gov/IDTheft.
La Rose also stressed the importance of making sure that Ohio’s election system continues to operate efficiently, with the requirements including verifying voter identification, removing deceased voters from current voter rolls, and requiring signature verification. With record turnouts in 2020 reaching 74 percent of all Ohioans casting a ballot, and all 88 Ohio counties seeing an uptick in voter participation, LaRose emphasized the importance of ensuring that Ohio remains a leader in voting accessibility.
“In 2020, we ran the most successful election in Ohio history,” said LaRose. “We were the ‘gold standard.’ 94 percent of people who requested absentee ballots returned them. We had 56,000 pole workers on site….When the world was watching, Ohio ran a very successful election. Ohio has found the right balance.”
LaRose stressed the importance of having multiple safeguards in place to protect each Ohioan’s right to cast a vote. He encouraged those in attendance to review the current voting law, and how proposed legislation might make future elections even more secure, citing the Voter Modernization & Security Act.
Questions, or want to learn more? Contact Secretary of State Frank LaRose at www.ohiosos.gov.
To learn more about the Darke County Chamber of Commerce, visit them on the web at www.darkecountyohio.com, or on Facebook. Questions or thinking about joining? Just call the Chamber at 937-548-2102, or email [email protected]