Small Business center outlines programs

Published 9:32 pm Thursday, January 12, 2017

By Jim Carroll

As we are entering the waning days of 2016, it is time to look ahead to 2017 and what the Small Business Development Center will be offering. Following is a listing of our standard offerings for the upcoming year. A later column will discuss programs that require supplemental funding. 

Small business counseling: We served more than 400 clients in 2016 and are in the process of obtaining economic impact figures. I will be scheduling meeting/briefings with representatives from economic development authorities, boards of supervisors, city councils and the like in March.

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Monthly circuit rides: This program has proven to be successful, and we are adding Williamsburg and the Historic Triangle to the list. This program currently covers Gloucester/Mathews, Smithfield and Franklin and is a cost-effective way to locally deliver services.

Website: The two SBDC websites ( and continue to serve as a cost-effective tool in providing information and free business training to the region’s small business community. generated more than 200 direct enquiries for information, which were addressed. In early 2017 we will be launching an third website (, which will be a collaborative effort between the SBDC and FranNet designed to assist those who are considering purchasing a franchise or an existing business who is looking to franchise his or her business.

Support for incubators and accelerators: We work with HATCH and Launchpad and work closely with the Franklin Business Center in providing technical assistance to individuals affiliated with these programs. Discussions are currently under way to expand this support to the Peninsula Technology Incubator from our Hampton office.

Small town and merchant program: Marc Willson will be visiting in March and working with Gloucester in preparation for an upcoming festival and Portsmouth in an effort to help revitalize Main Street retail operations. My goal is to have him come down two additional times in 2017 to put on a variety of training programs/one-on-one small business counseling. Will advise as the schedule becomes more defined.

NxLevel training program: This program will continue to be offered on the Eastern Shore.

Other events: The Hampton Office provides an ideal venue for gatherings focusing on women-owned businesses, veteran-owned businesses and SWAM Business. We will be conducting events throughout the year.

Hampton Small Business Cohort Training: The Hampton office will continue to conduct this long-term engagement program with local small business owners.

GrowthWheel: We will continue to expand the scope of this outstanding counseling tool with our clients.

Access to capital: The ACCION microloan program will continue to be offered by the center. It consists of a “Sprout Loan” (up to $10,000) and a “Micro-Loan” (up to $25,000). In the first year, we were able to close 4 loans in support of local small business owners. The center will continue to work with the Virginia Small Business Financing Authority to develop loan packages for small businesses that qualify.

Innovative Commercialization Assistance Program: A collaborative undertaking between the VSBDC and SHINE, which provides in-depth analysis and support to technology focused businesses throughout the commonwealth. Last year two local businesses participated in the program, while others were considered but not accepted.

Jim Carroll is the executive director of the Small Business Development Center of Hampton Roads. Email him at