Story via Ohio University Compass

The Ohio Small Business Development Center at Ohio University was named the Small Business Development Center of the Year in Region V by the U.S. Small Business Administration. The Ohio SBDC competed against other small business development centers from throughout Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin, after it won the Columbus District award.

OU SBDC leadership, trainers, and staff receive their award

“Ohio University plays a key role in the economic development of the southeastern Ohio community, and it’s wonderful to be recognized by the U.S. Small Business Administration for those efforts,” Ohio University President M. Duane Nellis said. “We see the impact the Small Business Development Center has on the community and our region every day, and this recognition pays tribute to the hard-working staff who make it happen.”

The Ohio University SBDC, hosted through the Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs, works to improve the entrepreneurial climate in southeastern Ohio by supporting aspiring entrepreneurs and small businesses and helping them flourish. They provide consulting services at no cost to existing and startup businesses in rural southeastern Ohio. These services are customized based on the needs of the client and can range from assisting clients to obtain financing, market and financial analysis, and training opportunities in business applications.

“Small businesses are the backbone of communities across America, with direct impact on economic growth and local jobs,” Scot Hardin, acting SBA Columbus District Director, said. “The SBDC’s Director Lissa Jollick and her team are helping build and revitalize these rural communities by providing counseling and resources to entrepreneurs and small business owners in the area.”

In the 2017 fiscal year, the Ohio University SBDC worked with 362 clients and helped create 86 new businesses and 250 new jobs. In addition, the SBDC assisted small businesses in obtaining nearly $5.5 million in capital and increasing sales by more than $8.2 million. In 2016, the SBDC expanded its service area to include 12 counties: Athens, Belmont, Fairfield, Guernsey, Hocking, Meigs, Monroe, Morgan, Muskingum, Noble, Perry and Washington.

“To be selected as the top center across six states, which includes approximately 90 centers, is truly amazing. Additionally, our SBDC has unique challenges in that it supports counties in the rural Appalachian region, which face economic obstacles that our staff members are constantly working to improve. This award could not have been possible without the hard work of our counselors and staff, along with our continuous efforts to identify ways to improve our operations and accessibility of our services to businesses in the region. The success of our SBDC is also a testament to the strong partner network, including both lenders and economic development organizations, which we are fortunate to collaborate with and utilize as a resource for clients.” Jollick said.

The Ohio University SBDC will be recognized at an awards ceremony in Columbus during National Small Business Week (April 29-May 5) on April 30, 2018.