LEXINGTON, Ky. (Jan. 9, 2014) — As important economic contributors, small businesses employ more than 40 percent of Kentucky’s workforce and represent 98 percent of the state’s firms. For nearly 15 years, Becky Naugle has served as director of the Kentucky Small Business Development Center (KSBDC) network, now based within the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment.
“Looking at the mission of the KSBDC, we are helping people start businesses, grow them, become more profitable, and make sure they are successful — supporting the small business owner but also looking at the larger impact they have on the economy,” Naugle said.
Recent independent research found that small businesses assisted by the KSBDC are growing at a much faster rate than the average Kentucky firm. And, of the businesses receiving services from the KSBDC, 95 percent stated the services were beneficial and 98 percent would recommend them.
“We are a very unique network within the state,” Naugle said. “We partner with all of the regional universities. We have 15 offices across the state — the plan is you will never be more than an hour away from a KSBDC location. Being a statewide network, we also have a lot of shared resources, so there are so many things that we can do. You really can get services anywhere in the state and usually there is no wait at all — we can get you right in and get you services and support.”
There is a very important distinction between the KSBDC network and other entities.
“We do not lend money and we do not give grants, and in some ways that is very helpful to our clients because we are an objective third party,” explained Naugle. “We don’t have a vested interest in a loan or a grant for you, but what we can do is really look at what’s best for that business owner, help them look at what their capital needs are, and then look at what are the different avenues to approach that.”
The KSBDC helps small businesses understand ever-changing government regulations. And what surprises people the most when they inquire about the KSBDC? Naugle says it is the amount of work the KSBDC does with existing businesses.
“We are pretty well known for our startups and we have lots of tools, resources, and guides for individuals who want to start a business, but we also offer a lot of services for existing businesses to consider — financial analysis, looking at market research, or to help them explore what other resources are out there,” Naugle said.
For more information about services available from the Kentucky Small Business Development Center network, visit the organization’s website at www.ksbdc.org.