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TSBDC Startup TSBDC Existing Business TSBDC Training

The Tennessee Small Business Development Center at ETSU would like to welcome you to our website. We provides free educational opportunities for those individuals thinking about starting a business and consulting services for existing firms. To become a client please use the following link to Request Counseling. For a full list of services please visit our Services Page. You can also find more information about our centers across the state of Tennessee by visiting www.tsbdc.org.




6th Annual Tennessee Procurement Summit
Tuesday, July 21, 2015
7:30 am - 1:00 pm Central Time
Registration at 7:30 am, Program begins at 8:00 am
Tennessee State University - Avon Williams Campus
330 10th Avenue North, Nashville, TN 37203

Join us for a morning filled with news and updates on federal procurement!  

The event will feature Procurement Officers sharing procurement needs and forecasts as well as how to do business with them. 

An Exhibit Hall will be open from 10:30 am – 12:00 pm Central Time so that you will have time to meet with federal procurement representatives one-on-one.  Some of the invited agencies include:


U.S. General Services Administration

Tennessee Valley Authority

Tennessee Army National Guard

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, VISN 9

NASA Marshall Space Flight Center

U.S Air Force – Arnold Engineering Development Complex

U.S. Forest Service - Land Between the Lakes

U.S. Forest Service - Cherokee National Forest

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers - Nashville District

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers - Memphis District

U.S. Department of Agriculture - Agricultural Marketing Service - Memphis

U.S. Department of Energy - Oak Ridge Office

Y-12 National Security Complex

Oak Ridge National Laboratory




PRE-REGISTER NOW via www.tsbdc.org or at the following link: 



New Funding Source for Businesses  

The Tennessee Small Business Development Center network (TSBDC) has partnered with Pathway Lending to launch Ready.Fund.Grow!®, a loan program designed to aid existing small businesses grow and create jobs. “The mission of the TSBDC is to assist small businesses obtain capital to grow and create jobs and the mission of Pathway Lending, a CDFI, is providing underserved markets with access to capital that leads to job creation and economic development,” said Dr. Bob Justice, Director of the TSBDC at East Tennessee State University. 

To address the funding problems of many small businesses, Pathway Lending has committed to financing qualified applicants who are working with TSBDC office across the state. The TSBDC will work with clients on developing a business plan, a requirement, and other aspects of the loan application package. The package will be submitted by the TSBDC for expedited processing by Pathway Lending.

 Loan applications for the Ready.Fund.Grow! ® program are less cumbersome than regular business loan applications. Loan proceed can range from $5,000 to $100,000 and can be used for fixed asset financing; working capital; supplies, materials and inventory; as well as accounts receivable or purchase order financing. 

For more information about the program and to set up an appointment to discuss how the TSBDC may be of assistance to your business, contact Dr. Bob Justice at 423-439-8505 or .


TSBDC at ETSU 2014 Rising Star Award

TSBDC ETSU Rising Star Award

Debbie Smith, owner of U.S. Respiratory, LLC, has been awarded the 2014 Rising Star Award from the Tennessee Small Business Development Center (TSBDC), at East Tennessee State University. The Rising Star award is given annually by the TSBDC to the company that best exemplifies not only business success, but an outstanding working relationship with the TSBDC and use of the services it provides.

U.S. Respiratory, LLC is a new disease management-medical equipment company located in Johnson City, Tennessee founded by local Respiratory Therapist, Debbie Smith. The company’s focus is to provide clinical excellence through education and specialized respiratory support services to help patients breathe better and have improved quality of life. U.S. Respiratory will provide ongoing support to patients with chronic lung disease to decrease hospitalizations associated with this population.  The company is currently in its first year of operation and is located in ETSU’s Innovation Laboratory.  

The TSBDC assisted Mrs. Smith by providing startup assistance and being a resource to her throughout the process. Smith states, “It has been a very rewarding experience so far. I am happy to have made the first step in becoming a business owner and I look forward to the growth of this new company. I feel secure and very thankful knowing that whatever comes my way I have the support of the TSBDC and ETSU Innovation Lab team right down the hall. Having those resources are invaluable.” 

Debbie Smith is a Registered Respiratory Therapist with almost two decades of experience in her field, most of her career being spent in the medical equipment industry. She has been recognized for excellence in clinical and sales roles from previous employers in the home medical equipment industry.

Debbie looks forward to offering a personal caring touch to all whom she comes in contact. 



Veterans Outreach Event: Services for Those Who Have Served

Join us on Friday, September 12, 2014 from 8:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. at Munsey Memorial United Methodist Church 201 East Market Street, Johnson City, TN for the Northeast Tennessee Veterans Outreach Event: Services for Those Who Have Served. Presentations will be made by Congressman (Dr.) Phil Roe and Colonel Many Bears Grinder, Tennessee Commissioner of Veterans Affairs. 

Panels discussions will include the US Small Business Administration, Housing and Urban Development, Veterans Affairs and Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development, along with the Tennessee Small Business Development Center, College of Business and Technology, East Tennessee State University. Topics will include housing opportunities for veterans, job opportunities for veterans, and business start-up and financial assistance to veterans.

Co-Sponsor(s): Co-sponsors include the TSBDC @ ETSU, SBA, US-HUD, TN-L&WD  

For more information and to register for this FREE event please visit: 


or contact us at (423) 439-8505. We look forward to seeing you there. 



TSBDC at ETSU Director Honored with Award

Bob TSBDC Award

Tennessee Small Business Development Center at ETSU Director, Dr. Robert Justice was honored on August 13th, 2014 by the Johnson City/Washing County/Jonesborough Chamber of Commerce - receiving one of three "Faith in the Future Awards."

The Chamber Chair, Lottie Ryans, said, "Dr. Robert Justice of the Small Business Development Center at ETSU is celebrating 30 years. Any inquiry at the Chamber regarding small business, from start up to expanding, we send to Bob. The SBDC is integral to our community... housed in the ETSU College of Business and Technology gives us a great tool to assist businesses. Professional Speaking, Bob is synonymous with Small Business."



TSBDC at ETSU 2013 Rising Star Award

Mr. Eduardo "Eddy" Zayas-Bazan, Jr. is the TSBDC at ETSU's 2013 Rising Star Award recipient. With the financial and business counseling assistance of Dr. Bob Justice; taxation and start-up counseling from Bob Graham; and social media counseling and training by Mark Bays Eddy was able to purchase an existing small pizza restaurant chain during a period of economic turmoil. Eddy came to the ETSU center originally on advice from a lender that needed a more detailed business plan and financial projections for a franchise restaurant in which he and a partner wanted to invest. Unfortunately, the partner withdrew leaving Eddy unable to continue with that plan. Soon thereafter, Eddy returned to the TSBDC with a plan to purchase Greg's Pizza Restaurants of Johnson City and Elizabethton. This year Greg's Pizza celebrated its 50th anniversary (started in 1963 by Greg Campanello) with a record high sales. Eddy said, "Bob Justice counseled me on numerous business challenges and where to get assistance. He advised me on which classes would be most beneficial." Eddy did take several social media classes presented by Mark Bays, Business and Technology Counselor. Eddy credits Mark, "I have advertised a special on Facebook every Monday to build sales on a traditionally slow sales day. I got this idea from social media and Facebook classes." Eddy is a 1983 Marketing graduate and his wife, Cindy Purkey Zayas-Bazan is a 1994 Criminal Justice graduate.

S.E.C. Advances New JOBS Act Rule, but Not Crowdfunding

By ROBB MANDELBAUM, The New York Times


Over the last few months, the messages have piled up in The Agenda's in-box, heralding a new securities regulation that, our correspondents say, will usher in a new era of crowdfunded financing. That new regulation took effect on Monday, but equity crowdfunding — at least as most people understand it — remains a long way off.

The new rule lifts a longstanding ban on broadly advertising a private stock placement, a restriction that had been in place since the Securities Act of 1933. Companies use private placements to issue stock without registering the offering with the Securities and Exchange Commission. By avoiding registration, a company also avoids having to make the disclosures necessary if it were offering the stock to the general public. However, with a few exceptions, this stock may be sold only to an institutional buyer or a so-called accredited investor — someone with annual income of at least $200,000 or net worth exceeding $1 million who is presumed to be a sophisticated investor.

Typically, early stage companies use the rules for private placements to structure transactions with angel investors or venture capital funds, though larger and more mature companies, including publicly traded businesses, also sell securities privately. Under the change to Rule 506, companies may now advertise stock sales widely, in newspapers or through social networks and e-mail blasts, but they can sell the stock only to accredited investors.

"The distribution capability, the reach, of the entrepreneur is no longer restricted to people with whom you have a pre-existing relationship," said Douglas Ellenoff, a securities lawyer with the New York firm Ellenoff Grossman & Schole. Mr. Ellenoff said that consumer products companies, especially, would be poised to take advantage of the new rule. "A lot of our public companies are exploring this as well, because they have substantial distribution, and they have loyal customers who if they knew the company was in need of money, would have been the obvious profile people to contact. But you couldn't have done that until today."

The change was mandated as part of last year's Jumpstart Our Business Start-Ups Act, commonly known as the JOBS Act — the same law that also established investment crowdfunding, though in a different section. (Lifting the ban on general solicitation, as it is called, is addressed in Title II of the law; crowdfunding in Title III.)

But the law contemplates crowdfunding — generally, selling stock and other securities over the Internet directly to the public — in a very specific way, taking its cue from Web sites like Kickstarter. "Crowdfunding is a little bit from a lot of people," Mr. Ellenoff said. "And that's not what this is," he added, referring to the new rule allowing general solicitation.

With crowdfunding, the JOBS Act establishes a mechanism for ordinary people to make small investments in small companies. The law limits how much investors can put into these stocks and restricts issuing companies to raising $1 million in a year. The law also requires a certain amount of financial disclosure from issuers — those hoping to raise more than $500,000 may have to supply audited financial statements to prospective investors — and even has an investor education component. None of that is present in a private placement — companies can raise as much capital as they wish, investors can sink as much they would like, and no financial disclosure is required. And of course, the crowd is much thinner, because only accredited investors can buy stock.

The confusion seems to have been driven in large part by crowdfunding's boosters, who have grown ever more frustrated waiting for the S.E.C. to set rules for the new market. The JOBS Act set the end of last year as the deadline for final rules on crowdfunding, but the S.E.C. has not yet even proposed those regulations, much less finalized them. As a result, many of the companies formed to crowdfund stock are attempting to turn themselves into platforms to facilitate private placements.

"Because a lot of people spent a lot of money building out technologies that are sitting idle, they need to pivot, since the S.E.C. has not enabled Title III to go forward," Mr. Ellenoff said. "And the 506 platform business and Title II platform business is a viable way to use the technology."

Those would-be crowdfunding platforms may have a long wait yet, said Richard Levin, a securities lawyer with the firm Baker & Hostetler. "Looking at Title II and how long it took for those rules to be approved, we could be looking at a year from the date the rules are proposed for crowdfund investing to become approved. It could be longer."


Clients received over $11 million in new capital during 2012 


During 2012, the Tennessee Small Business Development Center (TSBDC) at East Tennessee State University assisted its clients generate $11,187,214 in new capital for start-up and expansion, according to Dr. Patrick Geho, executive state director.

Dr. Bob Justice, director of TSBDC at ETSU says, "Our program worked to create successful financing plans for restaurants; sports, recreation and fitness centers; manufacturers; and physicians' offices. Throughout 2012, there was not a business sector that we did not assist in some way."

The size of the business or financing project is not important to the TSBDC. Justice adds, "While we had two financial packages approved that exceeded $2 million each, we had four projects of $10,000 or less. The average financial package, including debt and equity financing was $745,000 and the median was $53,000. This shows the diversity of financial projects in which the TSBDC participates."

Medical Doctor Donny Reeves was one of those benefiting from TSBDC assistance. He was referred to the TSBDC by the Washington County Economic Development Council for guidance while starting his ophthalmology practice in Johnson City. Reeves says, "The TSBDC took time to explain the process to grow a viable business within Washington County, with the goal of expanding very quickly. Ultimately, I am very pleased with the market research which helped determine the right area for a successful eye surgery facility."

Another economic impact statistic that the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) uses to evaluate the success of Small Business Development Center programs is jobs created and retained because of the TSBDC's counseling assistance. ETSU clients verified that the TSBDC aided them in creating 110 new jobs and eight jobs were saved or retained.

The TSBDC has been an economic development outreach program of ETSU's College of Business and Technology since 1984, funded under a cooperative agreement with the SBA. Dr. Linda Garceau, dean of the ETSU College of Business and Technology, says, "The work of the TSBDC is closely aligned with the mission of the college, since we are committed to the economic success and growth of our region. The TSBDC at ETSU is a big part of this commitment."

The program serves businesses and entrepreneurs in Carter, Grainger, Greene, Hamblen, Hancock, Hawkins, Johnson, Sullivan, Unicoi and Washington counties. It has fully staffed offices in Johnson City at ETSU's Innovation Laboratory and in Kingsport at the Kingsport Area Chamber of Commerce.

Counseling offices are staffed by appointment at the Greene County Partnership, the Rogersville/Hawkins County Chamber of Commerce, Elizabethton/Carter County Chamber of Commerce and Morristown/Hamblen County Chamber of Commerce.

For more information on the TSBDC at ETSU, visit www.etsu.edu/cbat/tsbdc or e-mail Justice at .



Pinterest Logo
The Tennessee Small Business Development Center at ETSU is very excited to announce that we have started a Pinterest Page. Please come follow us at http://pinterest.com/tsbdcetsu/. We will feature small business resources, tips, inspiration and much more on our page. We will also  be featuring a client showcase board, if you are a TSBDC client and would like to be featured in our showcase please send your website address to


TSBDC Video Counseling

The Tennessee Small Business Development Center at ETSU is very excited to announce that we now offer video counseling through Skype, Face Time, and Webex. To get started download the instructions linked below. All video counseling done by appointment only. For any problems or questions please contact Mark Bays at 423-439-8505 or baysml@etsu.edu
Instructions for Video Counseling

My Business Story

Video is predicted to be huge for 2012 and now is a great time to tell your business story. Google and American Express have created "My Business Story" a great free tool that allows you to make a professional-quality video telling the story of your business. The tool is very easy to use and provides a script and checklist to keep you on track with creating your video. The video you create will be uploaded to your you-tube channel. You then can share this video on your social pages, place it on your website, or use it to promote your business. To get started visit: www.youtube.com/mybusinessstory. If you need further assistance please contact our office at 423-439-8505 to make an appointment with a counselor.

Exciting News for Students and ETSU Faculty/Staff

The Tennessee Small Business Development Center at ETSU is excited to announce that we are now offering our workshops for FREE to any students and ETSU faculty/staff. Normal registration required, please present your ID on the day of the workshop to be eligible.

New Workshops for 2012

We are excited to announce that we some great new workshops launching for 2012. "Resources for Business Planning" and "How To Become a Mobile Office" starting in January and "How to Build an Effective Web-site for Small Business" starting in February. More information please visit our events page.

NEW TSBDC Online Training Web Site

We are excited to announce the TSBDC has just released their new online training web site. The web site has fourteen chapters which address common business topics. Each chapters features PDF documents with written content, voice-narrated PowerPoint presentations, and video segments from professionals, educators, and entrepreneurs from all over Tennessee. You can visit the new web site at   www.tsbdctraining.org

For More Please Visit our News Section

TSBDC Events

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