Thursday, December 23, 2010

Reflection on 2010 Challenges & 2011 Opportunities

As we prepare to close our offices tomorrow for the holiday week ahead, we want to reflect on the past year and end 2010 on a positive note.

Yes, economically things got pretty rough there for a while; but we know that gloom and doom can't be allowed to rule or we'll never get out of the hole. So here at the SBDC we choose to forge ahead .... to look for and act on positive signs ... to help our clients with creative brainstorming as well as basic business building blocks ... and develop new ways of solving old problems.

It has been our pleasure during the past year to assist many entrepreneurs as they worked through the planning phase of their start-up businesses and took the next step to actually opening a business. We'll be here for them again this year whenever they need to talk.

We were also blessed to have many clients we've worked with over the years return in 2010 to talk about ways to refocus or expand their businesses, re-write their business plans in preparation for applying for small business loans to do that, and even in a slow economy get those loans! Knowing that we played a part in their successes is a feeling we can't quite describe; but we know we like it! And we want it to continue!

Larry Stevens, Director of the Winthrop Regional Small Business Development Center in the College of Business, says "The work of assisting our local small business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs has never been as important or diversified as it will be in 2011." The SBDC is currently developing programs and preparing to venture into areas that will provide opportunities for both new ventures and existing businesses poised for expansion.

As a participant in the developing Nuclear Cluster (see, the SBDC joins a consortium of private industries, higher education and nonprofit organizations working in unison to support South Carolina's nuclear energy industry by strengthening small businesses which support that industry. Additionally, new funds being made available through the Small Business JOBS Act of 2010 will provide new training opportunities and specialized counseling for business owners looking to expand to create new jobs. Workshops are now being developed to aid businesses in increasing sales, marketing, and creating an online presence on a budget. Watch the SBDC web site for details

All in all, the staff of the SBDC is looking forward to an exciting new year of helping to strengthen South Carolina's economy! Farewell 2010 .... and thanks for the challenge! Welcome, 2011! We're ready to embrace all you have to offer!

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