Jump in hires at Small Business Development Center to meet business help demand

Posted at 5:18 AM, Jul 31, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-31 10:55:12-04

Since the beginning of the pandemic, officials with the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) in Hamilton County said they have seen such a large jump in calls for help that they had to almost double their staff.

"I don't think I've heard the word 'furlough' so many times in my life until this time," Karla Boldery, innovation services director with the SBDC, said. "There was a lot of questions. A lot of confusion."

The SBDC uses community connections to help business owners receive things like advice on what to do to loans. With the huge influx of people asking for help, the SBDC hired six additional counselors to help business owners in the county.

One group of people in particular were especially negatively impacted by the pandemic and have gone to the SBDC for help.

According to the Stanford Latino Entrepreneurship Initiative Survey, 86% of Latino entrepreneurs said the pandemic had a large, negative impact on their business. Nearly two-thirds of those entrepreneurs said they probably couldn't keep their business running beyond six months.

"There is a huge demand for the Latino community to learn more on how to start their own business," Boldery said. Thanks to this demand, she is starting the Hispanic Entrepreneurship Academy, a virtual space where Spanish-speakers can receive business help they need.

"Latinas are ready," Boldery said. "Ready to get started. Ready to move forward."