Published: Sep 16, 2011 10:45 PM EDT
Updated: Sep 16, 2011 10:45 PM EDT

COLLIER COUNTY, Fla. - Collier business are sounding off over the Economic Development Council closing it's doors at the end of the month.  Many credit the EDC for their growth and wonder who will help small businesses now.

Michelle Borders is one of those people.  Her husband created an invention that monitors your home temperatures and electricity while you're away.  A great idea, the only problem is they didn't know how to grow their business.

"They said they wanted to see my business plan.  What business plan?  I don't know how to write a business plan," Borders says.

A friend suggested she contact the EDC. 

"We're actually getting ready to hire someone right now.  That's based upon my fast track class the EDC put me through.  And the business mapping, I know that things have to be a certain way," the business owner explains.

A company that started in the kitchen is now exporting to clients in Canada.

Borders questions who she'll be able to call for help, "It seemed like the EDC was helping us every step of the way.  Now, who's going to hold our hand?" is doing so well, the EDC gave them an award just yesterday; something Borders calls bittersweet since the business resource is going away.

The Haynes Corporation tells WINK News the EDC helped them grow their business too.  They even credit the EDC for the reason their company is still based in Collier County.

Susan Weiss, president of Ark Naturals Products for Pets agrees.  She calls it a shame to get rid of something that helps small businesses, especially those starting out for the first time.  Weiss says the EDC being cut is a symptom of a bigger problem in this country.

Now, some are wondering of other small businesses in Collier will get the same chance to use tools the EDC gave them to grow.

The EDC may wind up being replaced by private companies that will come together and try to provide the same services.  There will be a workshop Friday, September 23rd, at 9 a.m. to discuss this and other ideas.