By Luis F. Carrasco
The Arizona Daily Star, Tucson.
Anyone looking to start a business or take their existing company to the next level may benefit from the Small Business Development Center, an often overlooked, no-cost resource for entrepreneurs.
Every state has several centers, which are partially funded by the U.S. Small Business Administration, offering a variety of services including one-on-one counseling and free or low-cost training programs.
The goal, said Ellen Kirton, director of the Pima and Santa Cruz SBDC, is to make small businesses sustainable, create jobs and spur investment in the community.
Last year, the local SBDC helped launch 33 new businesses, officials said. Through its programs and services, the center’s impact included 155 new jobs created, 93 positions retained, more than $7 million in new capital and $12.3 million in revenue growth.
“We get to be the objective person that sits on the other side of the table, who’s been there, knows it, can listen and ask the right questions — that’s what we do,” Kirton said.
“You can’t know everything. We come in as specialists, we know our subject matter extremely well, but people like us, we needed help with the financial aspects,” she said.
Although they had been successfully running their company since 1997, the classes the management team has taken over the last three years through the SBDC have been invaluable, Darling said.