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Small-business boost

Services: College of the Canyons’ SBDC exists to give small local firms a boost

Posted: September 28, 2010 7:23 p.m.
Updated: September 29, 2010 4:55 a.m.

Small businesses have traditionally led the nation out of past economic recessions, but they still need help surviving and growing. The Small Business Development Center provides loan assistance, counseling, training and co-sponsorship of conferences as ways to support local business owners.

Whether it’s helping a small-business owner build and grow a business, finding workers for a local company, one program helps brings both parties together.

The Small Business Development Center provides assistance to local businesses. Serving the Santa Clarita, Antelope and San Fernando valleys, the SBDC is located on College of the Canyons’ Valencia campus, where it is strategically placed to benefit to local residents.

“We’re the connective tissue,” said Steve Tannehill, SBDC director, referring to the connection between the college, community and businesses.

Funded partially by the Small Business Administration, the SBDC — a non-profit organization — benefits small businesses by providing technical resources that typically only larger companies can afford.

SBDC’s programs
Loan assistance is one of many services the SBDC provides. The SBDC can help a small-business owner package a loan — to apply for start-up or expansion capital — with a bank that makes small-business loans.

Technical assistance is also available to businesses in the form of helping an owner develop a business plan, accounting and bookkeeping, marketing and sales, state and federal government contracting and meeting technology needs.

One-on-one counseling meetings for business owners with professional business advisers guide owners on issues ranging from: business start-up and expansion; marketing and sales tactics; import and export assistance; logistics; manufacturing; human resources; legal issues; website design and development; e-commerce and more.

Hosted by COC’s Economic Development Division, the SBDC has three operating units supporting small businesses.
Advanced Technology Incubator provides technology-oriented entrepreneurs and start-up companies services to build a successful business.

Centers for Applied Competitive Technologies offers technology education and manufacturing training in a wide range of computer-aided design and manufacturing disciplines.

Employee Training Institute provides customized training for businesses in need of developing their work force. ETI primarily serves aerospace and industrial manufacturing and biotech industries.

The SBDC also assists independent contractors and small-business entrepreneurs, who contract their services and need to know how to operate as contractors.

Building work forces
As technology, aerospace and biotech companies relocate to the Santa Clarita Valley, it isn’t always possible for them to recruit skilled workers from within the valley.

Rather than recruit outside the valley, the SBDC is in the process of developing a new program for a group of local companies. The concept is to place new hires into a program that requires several months of classroom and on-the-job training, developing local employees to be job-ready for positions in the areas of CNC machining, precision assembly and general inspection.

Still in design phase, the program benefits the SCV by making jobs available to local residents so workers don’t have to commute long distances, and by providing companies with a suitable pool of skilled work-force candidates.

Services such as a customized training program increasingly make the area attractive to outside companies considering relocation.

Community colleges
Because community colleges often serve an integral role in building a local community, the training schools provide is not designed in an academic vacuum. Classes offered often meet the needs of local businesses and students, promoting the economic growth of a community.

“It’s very common for community colleges to run (Small Business Administration) programs,” said Tannehill. “Community colleges are the education vehicle for people in a community and the work-force training engine for California.”

As colleges train students to go out into the work force, community colleges also help businesses succeed.

COC actually runs the grant programs and hosts the SBDC, making the program’s staff employees of the college. Fifteen people make up the local SBDC staff.

To provide the resources and programs helpful to local businesses, the SBDC must raise money to match grants awarded by the SBA. Multiple organizations — many of which are local companies — help sponsor the local SBDC’s support services.

According to statistics kept by the SBA, Santa Clarita’s SBDC has provided assistance to 881 local businesses and helped build 57 new businesses in the past year. The aid has helped create 225 local jobs.

The SBDC also has a database of more than 5,500 small businesses.

Details on the individual programs can be found at To learn more about the SBDC, or to schedule an initial one-on-one business consultation, contact the SBDC by e-mail at, or call (661) 362-5900.


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