OU Small Business Development Center expands service area

Staff Report - TDSnews@civitasmedia.com

ATHENS — Following an award winning year, the Ohio University Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at the Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs will expand to serve a 12-county region of southeastern and eastern Ohio.

The Ohio University SBDC has a proven track record of working in Athens, Hocking, Meigs and Perry counties with more than 400 clients annually while consistently exceeding goals. Due to this strong performance, the state of Ohio Lead SBDC office and the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has expanded the Ohio University SBDC service region to include the following additional counties: Fairfield, Muskingum, Morgan, Washington, Noble, Monroe, Guernsey and Belmont.

The Ohio University SBDC provides valuable no-cost technical assistance to startup and existing businesses in a variety of functional areas. Clients are provided help in areas such as: capital access, business planning, market and industry analysis, financial analysis and budgeting. The expansion enables the Center to continue the support of the rural Appalachian region, which faces economic obstacles that staff members are constantly working to improve.

“The SBDC team is excited to broaden our service area. We work hard to provide existing and startup businesses with valuable assistance that will help the business owners achieve their goals, increase profitability and grow. We will consistently look for ways that we can be a valuable resource to economic development in the southeastern Ohio region,” Lissa Jollick, Regional Director, said.

In spring 2016, the Ohio University SBDC was honored with the Small Business Development Center Service Excellence and Innovation Center Award from the Ohio Small Business Development Centers. The Ohio University SBDC has consistently exceeded their goals. In the 2016 fiscal year, the Center assisted 35 business startups and counseled clients for more than 2,000 hours. In addition to these metrics, the SBDC significantly exceeded goals in the areas of job creation and retention, sales growth and capital infusion. The organization offers a robust schedule of no-cost trainings and professional development opportunities to its clients. In the 2016 fiscal year, the Center held 56 professional development events for clients hosting more than 550 attendees.

Three new positions have been added as part of the SBDC expansion. Cindy Voorhies, who has served as director within the SBDC network for 16 years will continue her work serving Muskingum, Guernsey and Belmont counties. John Voorhies, who also has experience working within the state’s SBDC network, was hired as the business advisor for Washington, Morgan, Monroe and Noble counties. Carleen Dotson, formerly an IT Instructor at Tri County Adult Career Center, has joined the Ohio University SBDC team in a newly created position as training specialist/business advisor.

Erin Gibson, a SBDC Business Advisor since 2013, will continue to serve Meigs, Athens, Perry, Hocking and Fairfield counties. Trenia Twyman will provide ongoing support as Office Manager.

For additional information or business assistance please contact Lissa Jollick at jollickl@ohio.edu or 740-593-0473.

Staff Report