Get to know the Small Business Development Center

  • Share:
June 17, 2019
The Virginia Small Business Development Center – Lynchburg Region is located at the Lynchburg Regional Business Alliance office.  The SBDC -Lynchburg Region serves the City of Lynchburg, and Amherst, Appomattox, Bedford, and Campbell Counties with expert advisors ready to assist both budding ideas and existing businesses looking to expand. Thanks to funding from the U.S. Small Business Administration and local governments in our region, these services are free to small businesses.  Working as part of a network of 29 centers across the Commonwealth, the Virginia SBDC makes it easy for businesses to access advising, training, and business resources on both the local and state level.

“We’re here for everyone,” said Stephanie Keener, director of the SBDC – Lynchburg Region. “A lot of folks think of us as a program for start-ups, but we have programs for businesses at any stage such as export support or assessments of your retail space. There are so many resources.”  

The SBDC - Lynchburg Region has some wonderful success stories. There’s Justin and Ashley Campbell, who opened Vista Fitness 24, Altavista’s only 24-hour gym. Then there’s Nathan Simpson, an Appomattox resident, who founded digital marketing company Colonial Systems while in high school and now holds a government contract for the National Park Service and the Department of Defense. Last month, Colonial Systems LLC was awarded a $185,000.00 prime contract by the U.S. Marine Corps Special Operations Command (MARSOC) to provide video production and creative post-production services.

Keener said they never try to squash an idea, but find the best way to execute it.  “We want to make sure your idea isn’t a big wobbly thing,” she said. “We’ll help you develop the whole piece. We want entrepreneurs to have a solid plan, and avoid taking out a risky loan or other funding before if they don’t have an understanding of their customer or a plan for marketing.” The SBDC – Lynchburg Region also partners with local resources to develop conferences and events like Create Virginia, a conference focused on arts and creative businesses that takes place at the Academy Center of the Arts.

Classes are another great resource offered by the SBDC. Get Found on Google Search and Maps will be held July 8, 9:00 – 10:30 a.m. and July 15, 6 - 7:30 p.m. at the Lynchburg Business Alliance. This workshop will explain how to setup Google My Business–your one-stop-shop for managing business info as it appears across Google Search and Maps, and helping potential customers find important info, like your phone numbers, hours of operation, and driving directions. The Lynchburg region center will start up a series called Start Smart, which will consist of two-hour classes to help residents get the basics on how to get started. “Start Smart will help people understand if entrepreneurship is right for them,” Keener said.  

For more information on how the center can help, or to register for classes, visit SBDCLYHR.org.