During 2012, the Tennessee Small Business Development Center (TSBDC) at East Tennessee State University assisted its clients in generating $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 that 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 as a result 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 college, 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 and the Rogersville/Hawkins, Elizabethton/Carter, and Morristown/Hamblen County chambers of commerce.