Business development center gets funding

For years, the Yavapai College Small Business Development Center has been a resource to many small business owners. Now the program will receive much needed funding.

With the new funding the center will be able to expand their hours and will now be open five days a week.

Before the extra funding the center was open from 11:30 to 5:30 Monday through Thursday now the center will now be open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday.

A. Roy Horn, the business and center manager said that, depending on the time of year, there is about a five to ten week waiting period for anyone who wants an appointment.

"Our services are so much in demand," Horn said.

The SBDC provides general small business counseling, business start-up, expansion, retention and turnaround counseling and management training and development. The center can also help with market research and offers other training seminars.

Horn said anyone in the Verde Valley can come to the SBDC for counseling. Even those who plan to start a business in another state can come to the SBDC for help. The SBDC is connected to other business development centers across the country and the 15 other centers in the state.

The center has been working for two years to get the funding needed to stay open full-time, Horn said.

He said that Arizona and Wisconsin are the only two states that do not fund the Small Business Development Centers.

"Arizona decided to put the program in the community college which put a strain on their budget," Horn said.

Horn said after trying a few times to get extra money for the center and not getting approved, Yavapai College wrote a proposal to receive federal funds given to the state after the 2000 census. He said all community colleges in the state competed for the funds.

Horn says that even though the college received 100 percent of what they asked for, the program is still under funded.

Right now just Horn and one student assistant work at the center. He said the services they offer are the same as consulting services in Phoenix, which he says charge over $100 an hour.

"We have the same services here free," Horn said. "Most small business can't afford those types of fees."

In addition to consulting services, Horn also teaches five-week evening management classes at the center. The classes count as college credit. He said the SBDC often tries to steer business owners back to college.

He said that 80 percent of small businesses fail within two years, "primarily because of poor business planning and poor entrepreneurial skills."

"The key is education and training," Horn said.

He said it is important to focus on training and helping small businesses in the area.

"Small business is the economic engine for the state," Horn said.

For more information call the center at 634-3110.

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