Tue, 09/08/2020 – 09:19 | By: Van Arnold
In response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, counselors at the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at the University of Southern Mississippi have developed new ways to serve current and potential customers.
As state-by-state closures began last March, the SBDC began formulating a plan to maintain assistance without the usual in-person workshops. As of April 1, the center had created âon-demandâ online versions of its Business 101 Series workshops.
SBDC advisor Rita Mitchell notes that since the April 2020 launch, more than 3,000 parties have registered and participated in the online workshops. As an example, she cites the recent “Steps to Properly Establishing a Small Business in Mississippi” which saw 70 participants online.
âIt’s clearly a positive, customer-centric way to serve our entrepreneurial community while we’re in the shelter and beyond,â said Mitchell.
USM established its Small Business Development Center through a partnership with the Small Business Administration, the Mississippi Small Business Development Center Network, the University of Mississippi, the Trent Lott National Center, and the College of Business and Economic Development at USM. The MSBDC has nine basic service centers across the state.
Since its inception in early 2015, USM’s SBDC has served nearly 2,000 clients with direct-to-shop training, online / email support, and in-person counseling. In addition, there were 88 business start-ups, approximately $ 25 million in capital injections and several hundred jobs created.
As the pandemic shows few signs of slowing down, SBDC advisers are maintaining rigorous work schedules to serve clients. Mitchell points out that since March, staff have been working essentially seven days a week.
“We are still working daily and tirelessly to help hundreds of small businesses and reimagine their finances, staff structure, inventory, business models and improve their digital reach to have the best chance of survival for our future business cycles.”
Mitchell said. âWe are committed to ensuring the survival, success and vitality of our small business community and our unique ‘place quality’ in Pine Belt. ”
The following workshops are now available online and those interested can register here: https://clients.mssbdc.org/events.aspx
BUSINESS WORKSHOPS 101
BUS 101-01: “Business creation – First steps”
BUS 101-02: “How to develop a business plan”
BUS 101-03: “Cash flow projections for your business plan”
BUSINESS WORKSHOPS 201
BUS 201-01: “Digital marketing for the future”
BUS 201-02: “Become productive with digital tools from Google”
BUS 201: “Manage your business remotely in times of uncertainty”
To learn more about USM’s Small Business Development Center, call 601.266.5507 or visit: https://www.usm.edu/trent-lott-national-center/usm-small-business-development-center. php