The success is due in large part to the expertise and knowledge of the people who work at the center. They all have hands-on, personal business experience.
“We know the challenges,” said Brenda Sheehy, MS, director of the Small Business Development Center at Cleveland State Community College. “We’ve already met those challenges and are better able to help our clients.”
Dave Hudson came on board as a counselor in 2010. He has an master of business administration in finance, as well as international business experience, and has launched at least a dozen successful businesses. He also speaks fluent Spanish.Jennie DeCook started at the SBDC officially Jan. 1 as the information processing specialist. An entrepreneur as well, she will be taking over all of the front office duties and assisting with the new entrepreneurial assessment offered to clients who are thinking of starting a business.
Some of SBDC’s 2010 statistics include: Clients seen: 276; average time spent with each client, 4.2 hours; preventure clients, 49 percent of all clientele; business starts, 35; job creation, 358; job retention, 123; training events, 45; attendees, 699; loan applications, 17; loan application total amount, $872,500; loans obtained, 16; loans obtained total amount, $1,036,546; increased sales reported from 25 businesses, $163,491,076; cash equity from 25 businesses, $912,500; travel miles to client sites, 1,526.75; and travel time, 125 hours.
“My sincere thanks to all who have supported us over the years. We wouldn’t be here without them,” Sheehy said. “We have tripled our clientele since last May and now our challenge has become our phenomenal growth and how to accommodate for it. That is a nice challenge to have.”
2011 looks brighter for both SBDC and the city of Cleveland and Bradley County areas, according to Sheehy.
“Cleveland and beyond is primed for a (business) explosion,” she said.
She is referring to the success that should be in the offing up and down the Interstate 75 corridor with the influx of big companies like Volkswagen, Whirlpool, WACKER, Amazon.com, etc., relocating and/or expanding here. “Cleveland will prosper.”
In addition, the Department of Health Services contracts with the SBDC to train at its child care orientation meetings.The center also is involved with DECA to instruct students on business plan development, marketing and financial projections.The SBDC has SKYPE available for appointments and has installed two remote computers in outlying chambers of commerce organizations, Monroe County and Meigs County.Assessments are offered almost everyday. Just call the center to schedule an appointment.
In addition, a Business Fundamentals Workshop is available almost every week. Registration is required, but both the assessment and the workshop are free. For a complete list of training and for more online training, you can refer to www.tsbdc.org.Beginner and intermediate Quickbook classes are now being offered.All of the SBDC’s services and most of its training are free to its clients.