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Home News-Telegram News DBA to host program Monday exploring free services offereed by PJC’s small business center

DBA to host program Monday exploring free services offereed by PJC’s small business center

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The Sulphur Springs Downtown Business Alliance is hosting a public meeting Monday for local entrepreneurs who are interested in learning how they can benefit from all the free services offered by a regional center designed to help small businesses thrive.

Members of the Downtown Business Alliance — which is virtually synonymous with small business in Sulphur Springs — will host the seminar exploring and explaining the resources available through the Small Business Development Center at Paris Junior College. at 6:30 p.m. this coming Monday, July 13. The program will be held during the alliance’s regular monthly meeting at Plain & Fancy Sandwich Shoppe on the south side of the downtown square.

The PJC Small Business Development Center, in partnership with the federal Small Business Administration, has a long history in Sulphur Springs. In fact, the center 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.

The center also been quite successful in helping small business owners in Hopkins County apply for loans In fiscal year 2008, the SBDC helped generate $1.62 million in loans in five counties — Hopkins, Delta, Hunt, Lamar and Red River. A full $620,000, or 38.2 percent, was for businesses in Hopkins County.

Other accomplishments cited by the SBDC in Hopkins County last year include 33 jobs created, 50 jobs retained and seven businesses started.

The center’s staff 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, with topics ranging from tips on starting a small business or interviewing job applicants to conflict resolution, improving customer service and more.

“As consumers, we may be inclined to relate SBA primarily in assisting with loans,” said Billie Ruth Standbridge, a DBA member who, with a new tenant, is renovating a downtown property. “In reality, they assist in so many things necessary to starting a business, expanding, making a business plan, even coming to your already existing business and helping you with your record-keeping or setting up a system for you.”

Counselors from the Small Business Development Center, like Rudy Slusher with the Dallas office of the Small Business Administration, can make available personalized, confidential, one-on-one business help at no charge.

Monday’s presentation is planned as a one-time seminar, but it’s not the only informative program the business alliance plans to host in the near future.

“At our next few monthly meetings, we will be featuring speakers that will be of interest to the businesses here in town,” said Rita Edwards, president of DBA. “This Monday night we will have Rudy Slusher from the SBA, and in August an agent from the FBI will be presenting a program about counterfeit money and other scams.”

Edwards is also hoping a program can be arranged involving leaders of local banks discussing how the financial institutions are handling the current economic downturn.

“It is a goal of the Downtown Business Alliance to promote success for all of the businesses of our town,” Edwards said.

For more information about DBA or the planned programs, call 903-243-0252.

Pat Bell, director of the PJC Small Business Development Center, says 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.

More information is also available at the center’s website: www.sbdcparis.org




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