Businesses of all sizes are looking to the future with uncertainty as the country responds to the COVID-19 pandemic.
School closings, event cancellations and social distancing are just some of the challenges local businesses are facing. However, for those in Sam Houston State University’s small business community - there is hope.
SHSU Small Business Development Center, hosted by the College of Business Administration, has stepped up to assist local entrepreneurs during this time.
“We are working hard to support small business owners who are facing unprecedented and steep challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic,” Director Rhonda Ellisor said. “Our commitment is to share the most timely information, processes and resources available.”
It is their aim to promote and strengthen the economic well-being of the community through a variety of educational services. One of the larger initiatives of the SHSU SBDC has been to provide businesses with information for applying for the SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans.
According to Ellisor, since the World Health Organization declared the disaster a pandemic on March 11, the center has conducted more than 300 advising sessions, providing more than 150 local area businesses with information related to the SBA loans, managing in times of difficulty, planning cash flow, changing direction, and considering employee impact during these challenging circumstances.
“To protect the health and safety of our clients and employees, we are currently offering all SBDC business advising services virtually via phone, email, Zoom and Skype,” Ellisor said.
Business owners can also access free online courses and webinars, including daily webinars on SBA recovery assistance and step-by-step information.
Along with the virtual services, the center is also conducting community outreach by working with local lending institutions, local media, the county, city, and Chambers of Commerce in Huntsville-Walker County, as well as the surrounding areas they serve.
In addition to helping during disasters, the SHSU SBDC, part of the UH Texas Gulf Coast SBDC Network, provides no-cost business advising, training and resources to help new and growing businesses succeed. The SBDC can assist with business planning, capital access, sales and marketing, market research, accounting assistance, technology, financial analysis, strategic planning and international trade.
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