JSU’s Small Business Center Recognized for Achievements


Not even a global pandemic could slow the local impact of the JSU Small Business Development Center (SBDC).

According to the recent annual review released by the Alabama SBDC Network, JSU met or exceeded performance expectations in the following areas:

  • Goals for new business creation 
  • Unique customers served
  • Jobs supported

The review also found, among other accomplishments, that client satisfaction at the center and advisor level have been consistently high. It also praised the center for maintaining a high level of client interaction despite changing to a work-from-home model during the early weeks of the pandemic.

In his letter to Dr. Steven McClung, dean of JSU’s School of Business and Industry, Michael Brooks, associate director for the Alabama SBDC Network, praised the center for overcoming a year of unprecedented obstacles. 

“Given the significant disruption to both the center and the entrepreneurs/small business owners served by the SBDC, these are commendable accomplishments,” Brooks wrote. “The pandemic-induced shutdowns and abrupt pivot to a work-from-home model were certainly disruptive, but the statewide SBDC was able to continue operations at a fairly high level. When many business owners began to panic about the impact of the pandemic, they turned to their trusted SBDC advisors for assistance.”

Dean McClung, in turn, gave credit to the center staff.

"It's a testament to the professionalism and concern for the people of Alabama that the SBDC team did such a great job under such difficult circumstances,” McClung said. “Ken Grissom and his team have once again proven that they are tops in the state when it comes to helping the people in our region of Alabama successfully start businesses. Lindsey Frey, Cassie Chandler, Mary Kirk, Anna Fang and everyone at the SBDC did remarkable work in 2020. We're privileged to have them as part of the School of Business and Industry." 

The statewide Capital Access (CAP) team helped its clients secure almost $215 million in 2020. While this is a record number for the program, Brooks said it will be “quietly celebrated” as almost $115 million was derived from disaster relief money clients received as a result of CAP assistance.

“Thanks to strong support from our centers, and the development of strong advisor-client relationships,” Brooks said, “the Alabama SBDC had one of the highest response rates out of all 62 SBDC programs nationwide.”