Small Business Development Center
The Small Business Development Center (Southwest SBDC) provides free and confidential one-on-one counseling as well as business education opportunities and resources to help entrepreneurs, small business owners, and managers improve their business.
The mission of the Small Business Development Center is to foster small business success and grow Southwest Virginia’s economy.
A few of the types of assistance offered to start or expand your business are:
- Business Planning
- Financial Resources & Statements
- Cash Flow Management
- Target Marketing & Growth and Expansion Strategies
- Exporting Assistance
- Licensing and Regulatory Information
- Free, Confidential Business Consultation
- Management Counseling and Training
The Southwest SBDC office has a proven track record of providing solid guidance for potential and current business owners to succeed. Below is one of many such success stories.
Success Stories of Southwest’s Small Business Development Center
The ties that bond: Tazewell Co. Mercantile brings the community together
Bond Strong has been dreaming about Tazewell Co. Mercantile at some level all her life. A Tazewell County native, she graduated from Western Carolina University before returning home to open the locally sourced food-and-gift mart in fall 2018. Bond explains, “My mom proposed the idea of an antique store in January, and I began thinking about how I could incorporate my passion for local food and the local economy into that. The store grew pretty organically from there.”
The part-gift shop, part-local market opened in October. Since then, the store has gathered handmade gifts, local food items, and the community itself – all into one warm, bustling epicenter that hosts crafting workshops and other eclectic events almost weekly.
Bond credits the Southwest Virginia Community College SBDC and advisor Margie Douglass for walking every step beside her, which she admits was daunting at first. “As a history major, then a nanny, then a substitute teacher, then a stay-at-home mom, I had no business experience, and I did not know how to turn my idea into a reality. I had no clue what a business plan was, what steps I needed to take, or who to speak with,” Bond admits. “Margie helped me lay out a plan and organize my thoughts and ideas into something coherent and manageable. Going through the business plan development process helped me better understand how a business is run and how feasible my plan was,” Bond continues.
The Virginia SBDC Network is a partnership program between the U.S. Small Business Administration, George Mason University-Mason Enterprise Center and institutions of higher education, chambers of commerce and economic development organizations. Funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the U. S. Small Business Administration.