Southwest Tennessee Community College

January 31, 2006

For more information, contact: Kimberly Kreider (901) 333-4023

Tennessee Small Business Development Center Receives Grant from USDA for Center in Fayette County

The Memphis Tennessee Small Business Development Center (TSBDC) located at Southwest Tennessee Community College was awarded a $30,000 USDA grant to open a small business development center in Fayette County. The new center is located in the office of the Fayette County Chamber in Somerville.

The Center is being located in Fayette County because it is the fastest growing county in the state of Tennessee. Also, since Fayette County is still considered more of a rural area, it is in the USDA’s interest to support new business development in rural areas.

“The Center will be there to help new and existing business owners with any and all business related problems, questions or concerns,” said Mark Taylor, Senior Business Consultant at the TSBDC. “We are basically a government consultant group that has a wide range of expertise to assist businesses.”

When the Center opens its doors the first part of February there will be a computer with internet access, business plan software and a consultant available 1 to 2 days a week. Consultants are experts with advanced degrees (MBAs or CPAs) and small business experience. “Our consultants can offer advice on any aspect of operations of a small business from accounting and marketing to human resources to general organizational needs,” states Taylor.

One of the primary functions of the center will be to assist prospective business entrepreneurs write their business plan. A business plan will help an entrepreneur put everything in perspective and reduce the amount of start up mistakes when beginning a business. “Eighty-five percent of businesses that fail don’t have a business plan,” said Taylor. “That’s why it’s important for new businesses to work with consultants to ensure research is done about a business and plans are properly put into place so that financial institutions have adequate information about the business and can grant funding.”

The Center expects to average 25 start-up business inquiries a month for the first year. Along with assisting potential entrepreneurs getting started, they will be offering educational training courses on marketing, human resources, accounting and a host of other business related needs at the Center.

For more information on the Fayette County Center or any of the services offered at the TSBDC contact Mark Taylor at 465-8690 (in Fayette County) or at 526-9300 (in Shelby County).