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Ohio University Small Business Development Center expansion helps businesses with ongoing pandemic recovery efforts

July 23, 2020

Continuing to guide and support businesses through pandemic recovery efforts, the Ohio University Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at the Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs has led a multi-faceted expansion in its service area, offerings and capacity in southeastern and eastern Ohio.

In recognition of the Ohio University SBDC’s consistently strong performance, the state of Ohio’s lead SBDC office and the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) expanded the Ohio University SBDC’s service region into Licking County and northern Fairfield County in June, while adding additional bandwidth to western Muskingum County. Additionally, Ohio University SBDC expanded its service offerings by adding the Export Assistance program.  

“This broadening of our geographic range and service offerings enables us to impact more businesses and help them provide results,” Ohio University President M. Duane Nellis said. “Ohio University has always prioritized the value the institution provides to the community, and this is a valuable way to put Ohio University on the front lines of recovery for our community – both businesses and individuals.”

As the pandemic’s impact on businesses has progressed, Ohio University received additional funding from the SBA to target efforts to assist businesses that have been most affected.  

“We are able to bring dedicated resources, in terms of human capital, knowledge and operational expertise, to focus our service delivery,” regional director Lissa Jollick said. “In terms of the expansions related to the COVID funding, the goal is to have our technical assistance attempt to mitigate the negative effects that businesses will continue to feel from the pandemic.  This enables the Ohio University SBDC to provide businesses with much more resources than we would have been able to provide in normal times.”

Four new positions have been added as part of the Ohio University SBDC expansion. Donald Hackney, an experienced export assistance advisor, will work in a 15-county radius. Ryan Silvashy, a business advisor with manufacturing expertise, will serve the new SBDC coverage area. Also hired were hospitality industry expert Jessica Kopelwitz, based in Athens, and Teri Clapper, a marketing expert based in Cambridge. Each are available to assist clients throughout the service area, both through in-person and virtual consulting. 

“Business as usual is not likely to happen for a while. We need to help businesses learn how to adapt and reach their customers in different ways,” Jollick said. “We are continuing to explore other assistance options that we can provide to our clients through experts who can offer both one-on-one counseling and more intensive professional development in targeted areas that help businesses.”

The Ohio University SBDC provides valuable no-cost technical assistance to startup and existing businesses in a variety of functional areas. Clients are provided help in areas such as capital access, business planning, market and industry analysis, financial analysis and budgeting. The expansion provides the Ohio University SBDC with increased capacity to continue support of the rural Appalachian region, which faces extraordinary economic obstacles, especially now as it is attempting economic recovery from the pandemic.

The Ohio University SBDC 13-county service region includes Athens, Belmont, Fairfield, Guernsey, Hocking, Licking, Meigs, Muskingum, Monroe, Morgan, Noble, Perry and Washington counties. For additional information or business assistance please contact Lissa Jollick.