If you are ready to explore owning your own business or expanding the one you have, the new Guide to Starting and Growing Your Business, published by The University of Texas-Pan American's Small Business Development Center (SBDC), may be just the publication to help you venture forward.
The free 40-page publication offers numerous articles on business management topics and information on licenses, permits, taxes, financing sources, market planning, counseling, and business planning. It is available to clients at the SBDC offices, those of its sister centers under the Business Development and Innovation (BDI) Group, and its resource partners throughout the Rio Grande Valley including the McAllen Hispanic, Harlingen Area, Brownsville, Raymondville, Greater Mission, and Edinburg Chambers of Commerce as well as many of the local Economic Development Corporation offices and participating lenders.
SBDCs are partially funded by the U.S. Small Business Administration and UTPA's center, which was established 23 years ago, works together with the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Harlingen District office to provide technical assistance to prospective and existing small business owners interested in SBA loan guarantees and other products and services. The many training sessions conducted by SBDC staff and resource partners have proven to help businesses through improved sales and management skills, Juárez-Serna said.
The SBDC at UTPA is certified by the Association of Small Business Development Centers through a rigorous accreditation process and is staffed with professional business advisers who provide training, counseling, research, and other specialized assistance to assist business owners. Throughout the year, the SBDC and other UTPA partners host a variety of training seminars on and off campus for students and the community who are exploring entrepreneurship as an employment option. Information on upcoming training sessions is available at the SBDC Web site www.utpa.edu/sbdc.
Juárez-Serna said entrepreneurship and small business development are important to the Valley.
"For the individual, it provides options, alternative employment, additional sources of income, and opportunities for wealth creation. For the local economy, small business provide a great source of revenue (taxes), job creation, and increased wealth for the region," she said.
For more information on the SBDC or other BDI Group services, visit the SBDC office located at the UTPA Annex at 2412 S. Closner in Edinburg or call 956/292-7535.