Orange business champion Ida Schossow prepares to award 2024 recipient

Published 12:20 am Wednesday, April 17, 2024

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Ida Schossow of the Greater Orange Area Chamber of Commerce is going to help present awards at the 2024 Annual Small Business Awards Banquet in Orange County.

The event is hosted by the Small Business Development Center, located on the campus of Lamar State College Port Arthur.

Schossow, Chamber president, was last year’s Small Business Champion of the Year. She is presenting the 2024 honor to Letha Knaus of the Groves Chamber.

Ida Schossow

Ida Schossow has a passion to see businesses succeed.

With a background in banking and years of volunteering with the chamber through her previous job, Schossow understands small businesses are the backbone of America.

Schossow understands the importance of a chamber of commerce; she said her job is about helping.

“We help businesses in many different ways. We help new businesses come in. We help established businesses who may be struggling in an area and those maybe considering expanding and need advise on how to do that,” Schossow said.

Through her years of experience she knows where additional resources are. She may refer the business to the economic development corporation or to the SBDC.

“We try to put them in touch with people that can help them,” she said. “It’s really all about helping local businesses in whatever their needs are.”

The retired banker has a background in finance but also has served as past chairman at the chamber through her job.

When the chamber job came open she was a natural fit.

Schossow knows the importance of listening to the needs of businesses; owners may need a small business loan or a business plan, maybe some incentives or abatements.

She recalls the unchartered waters during COVID and how she realized she needed to step up and take initiative.

“No one knew anything,” she said of life during the pandemic. “I was concerned about our small businesses and how they would survive.”

She tried working from home but many of the tools she needed were at the office. At that time she was networking with the Texas Chamber of Commerce and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, then the COVID PPP loans came out.

She delved into the topic and learned as much as she could, then headed back to the office. She kept informed of all changes as they were rolled out while keeping in contact with the small businesses.

“We have to learn quick if we are to be advocates for businesses,” she said. “I felt like I had to do everything I could to get information to businesses and the help they needed.

“Small business drives everything. The more you have, the more jobs you have. The more jobs you have, the more employees you have. The more employees you have, the more families you have. The more families you have, the more houses you have. It’s a domino effect.”