Small business becoming a focus on the Square in downtown Troy for SBDC

TROY's Small Business Development Center staff are welcoming small businesses in their new location in downtown Troy. (TROY photo/Clif Lusk)

TROY's Small Business Development Center staff are welcoming small businesses in their new location in downtown Troy. (TROY photo/Clif Lusk)

Visitors to the Troy’s historic downtown Square will find new life in the old bank building located at on the Corner of Court and Three Notch, thanks to the Alabama Small Business Development Center at Troy University.

TROY’s SBDC has become the Sorrell College of Business’ first tenant in the “IDEA Bank,” formerly the Regions Bank building, that will eventually house the College’s entrepreneurship program and a collaboration center. The SBDC’s move from its Troy Industrial Park location was finalized in April.

“We are fortunate that such an accessible location exists for the Small Business Development Center to continue the support they provide for area small businesses,” said Dr. Judson Edwards, Dean of the Sorrell College. “The SBDC is a vital part of the College’s outreach, and helps businesses in our region be successful not only in their start up, but in their growth and expansion as well.”

In 2018 alone, TROY SBDC clients created 197 jobs, helped launch 16 new businesses and helped clients acquire nearly $71 million in government contracts. Those businesses are located in Barbour, Butler, Coffee, Covington, Crenshaw, Dale, Geneva, Henry, Houston and Pike counties.

“The Alabama SBDC Network, which consists of nine centers such as ours, provides emerging and established businesses with the expertise and resources needed to succeed,” said Judy Callin, the Center’s director.

The SBDC provides business services that include strategic market research, business planning, strategic planning, market and revenue growth strategy, capital access and loan packaging, financial analysis and assessment, and feasibility analysis. In addition, the SBDC staff provides one-on-one consulting services and offers a wide range of seminars aimed at helping small business people manage and conduct their companies.

Among those who have been aided by the SBDC are Kendall Allen and Allen Sullivan, owners of Pike Equipment Rental, who turned to the Center’s staff for help in preparing a business plan for their purchase of the business in 2015. Since then, the pair have continued to utilize the SBDC services by attending seminars, and even using the Center’s training spaces to conduct their own seminars for their clients.

Initially, however, it was the Center’s consultation services on building a business plan that made the duo’s efforts at business acquisition a reality.

“The SBDC is a great asset to our city. They worked with me to establish a business plan model that I could present to Troy Bank and Trust when I applied for a loan,” Allen said. “The templates provided were excellent and the help from Judy Callin and Betsy Baker has been priceless.”

Last year, the Center provided access to more than $4.5 million in investment capital and provided nearly 1,100 hours of one-on-one advising in the service area.

Of the 252 clients served in 2018, 39 percent were women-owned, 33 percent were veterans and service-connected disabled veterans, and 35 percent were minorities. Almost 600 people attended 18 training events.