The departure of Kilgore College Small Business Development Center (KCSBDC) director Brad Bunt and other SBDC employees this spring to join the staff of a sister community college in the North Texas Small Business Development Center Network (NTSBDC) has given KC the opportunity to analyze its role in its small business development outreach efforts.
“Of concern was whether the model of indirect or non-education and training service delivery was still a good fit with KC’s mission,” said Dr. Brenda Kays, KC president.
Desiring to maximize its investment and return to being a direct provider of education and training opportunities, KC will leave the NTSBDC Network at the end of September, transitioning its focus to providing education and training opportunities for budding entrepreneurs and small businesses solely in Gregg, Rusk and Upshur counties.
“The college will continue to have a strong reciprocal working relationship with the NTSBDC Network and anticipates further economic development assistance to small businesses,” Kays said.
When KC joined the network in 1990 (in conjunction with the U.S. Small Business Administration), providing education and training opportunities was a central component of the services offered but the emphasis on direct education and training services has diminished.
Through its membership in the NTSBDC Network, KC was providing only indirect services and little education and training services to six counties (Gregg, Harrison, Marion, Panola, Rusk and Upshur). Three of these counties are outside KC’s service area.
KC will continue to offer continuing education courses and other business software classes to support entrepreneurs and small business development in the area.
“Business Plan Development, Securing Start-Up Funding, Sales and Marketing, Navigating Legal Issues, Utilizing Social Media and E-Commerce and QuickBooks are just a few of the topics covered in courses developed to support entrepreneurs and small business development,” said Dr. Julie Fowler, KC executive dean.
The NTSBDC Network will also continue to maintain counseling services and outreach for the entire East Texas area.
“The North Texas SBDC Network is still very committed to maintaining close relationships and continuing to offer entrepreneurial assistance to small businesses in the market area,” said Mark Langford, executive director of the NTSBDC Network. “The many community stakeholders and partners offer great support for the entrepreneurial ecosystem in East Texas.”