Since 1981, the JSU Small Business Development Center (SBDC) has contributed help and counseling to entrepreneurs who wish to make their small business dreams into reality.
Robbie Medders, Acting Director at the Center for Economic Development and the SBDC, says that readily available counselors give trained assistance for business plans, securing capital, selling their products and services to the government, and a variety of other areas that are requested by their clients. These one-on-one meetings are free, confidential, and include access to a research library, workshops, technology assistance, and conferences.
To ensure accessibility, the SBDC procured partnerships with Chambers of Commerce in a seven county area of Northeast Alabama which includes Blount, Calhoun, Cherokee, Cleburne, Etowah, St. Clair, and Talladega counties to provide their full range of services, and can provide government procurement services in the two additional counties of Randolph and Clay.
While the SBDC offers counseling Monday through Friday at their campus office in Room 114 of the Merrill Building, these Chambers of Commerce provide additional space for the SBDC to meet with clients and to expand the scope and range of their services to these communities.
On the 1st and 3rd Thursday of each month, a SBDC representative is available for counseling at the Calhoun County Chamber of Commerce in order to render their services.
The Calhoun County Chamber of Commerce has maintained the partnership with JSU’s SBDC since 1983 to provide these services to the local communities. Linda Hearn, Chamber Manager at the Calhoun County Chamber of Commerce, stated that this long-time partnership has been characterized by close, open communication.
Each party provides necessary resources for the other to more easily bring these significant services to small businesses. Linda says that while the Chamber provides a more centralized location, the SBDC provides knowledgeable advisors and a great library of research.
Over 500 businesses are assisted annually with counseling and training thanks to JSU’s SBDC and their partners.
According to Robbie Medders, they have contributed to the economic vitality of Alabama by helping generate sales and jobs for Alabama businesses.
They are a resource partner with the U.S. Small Business Administration and, whether aspiring entrepreneurs are looking to explore new business ideas, or to expand the services or areas covered by their existing small business, the JSU SBDC is available to assist them.
Small business owners outside of Calhoun County who need assistance or counseling for their business can seek it through the JSU SBDC by contacting their local Chamber of Commerce to verify when the next scheduled visit will take place.