The Small Business Development Center at Paris Junior College was recently named “SBDC of the Year” by the Dallas District Office of the U.S. Small Business Administration, and Hopkins County played a big role in the center’s success.
“This accomplishment was achieved because so many of you utilized the counseling and training services of the SBDC, and we want to say ‘Thank You’ for your confidence in us,” wrote Pat Bell, director of the PJC Small Business Development Center, in a note sent out Friday. “It takes all of us working together to make a difference, which is why I wanted to say ‘Thank You’ to everyone who works with us in any capacity.”
The SBDC at Paris Junior College offers a variety of seminars and training classes at the PJC-Sulphur Springs Center. A small fee is charged for some, but most are free. The topics range from tips on starting a small business or interviewing job applicants to patent law, conflict resolution, improving customer service and many more.
The center also helps small business owners apply for loans, and has been quite successful in doing so in Hopkins County. In fiscal year 2008, the SBDC helped generate $1.62 million in loans in five counties — Hopkins, Delta, Hunt, Lamar and Red River. Of that amount, $620,000, or 38.2 percent, was for businesses in Hopkins County.
Lamar County, where the SBDC is headquartered, had the most clients at 105 and generated the most in loans at $844,000.
But Hopkins County had the second-highest number of clients at 37, ahead of Hunt County (33) and Red River (23). That means the average loan per client locally was $16,756, more than double the average in Lamar County ($8,038) and more than tripling Hunt County ($4,772).
Other accomplishments cited by the SBDC in Hopkins County include 33 jobs created, 50 jobs retained and seven businesses started.
The U.S. Small Business Administration and the state of Texas help fund the center, while Paris Junior College invested $50,000 in the program in FY 2008. According to Bell, the SBDC had a “sales impact” of $7.15 million in the five-county area, created 125 jobs and saved 215 others. The benefit to cost ration of sales was 143 to 1, while the benefit to cost ratio of sales tax was 8.46 to 1, and financing leverage was 52 to 1.
“What this means to the community is for every $1 PJC invested in the SBDC program, sales by small businesses who used our services were increased $143, sales taxes generated increased $8.46, and financing of $52 was generated for SBDC clients,” Bell stated.
The impact of small businesses may be more important than ever as the nation faces massive layoffs by “big business.”
“Small businesses will have to absorb these jobless in order for our economy to recover,” Bell said. “Congress has improved conditions for SBA loans, allowing more businesses to be eligible for SBA loans, increasing guarantee rates, eliminating fees and introducing a new ‘bridge’ loan program in an effort to boost small businesses.”
Funding for the Small Business Development Center program has also been increased, which will allow the center to offer more services and resources to help start and grow small businesses, according to Bell.
Counselors are also available to help start a new business or expand and improve an existing business. Counseling sessions, which are free and confidential, can be scheduled for Thursdays between 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. To arrange an appointment, call the Hopkins County Chamber of Commerce at 903-885-6515.
“We are proud to be a part of your community and the Paris Junior College family and look forward to helping our small businesses continue to grow and prosper in the months and years ahead,” Bell concluded.
More information is also available at the center’s website:
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