By Linda Wright
The Hamilton County Small Business Development Center is celebrating the tenth anniversary of its partnership with Urban League of Greater Southwest Ohio.
Established in January 2010, the HCSBDC provides business counseling and assistance to individuals who are either starting or growing a business. Ohio SBDC at the Urban League of Greater Southwest Ohio provides no cost, confidential, in-depth, one-on-one counseling for businesses that will or currently employ fewer than 500 employees.
HCSBDC workshops and one-on-one counseling cover topics including: Business Plan development, Strategic Planning, Buying vs. Building A Business, Understanding Financial Statements, Conducting Market Analysis, Fundamentals of Marketing, Human Resource and Leadership Development.
“This is a significant milestone in the ongoing and developing partnership between HCSBDC and the Urban League here in Cincinnati,” said Wanda Walker-Smith, director of Hamilton County Small Business Development Center. “While most county-based Small Business Development Centers in Ohio have chambers of commerce or colleges as their host organization, only Hamilton County and Cleveland have the distinction of having a chapter of the National Urban League as its partner.”
Walker-Smith explained that the partnership works so well because “the focus of both organizations align with helping to improve the community as a whole.
“The Urban League mission is to transform communities through financial and personal empowerment,” she said. “The partnership between the Urban League and the SBDC builds on this transformation by working with the development and growth of the small business owners within the Hamilton County area.”
In its 10th birthday year the HCSBDC has seen significant growth in its staff, as the organization has responded to the tremendous challenges and needs small businesses are facing in the COVID-19 Pandemic.
The Hamilton County SBDC team has grown from four business counselors to 10. The staff now consists of Walker-Smith, 10 business counselors and the business coordinator, Myra Humphrey, who is responsible for building a positive rapport with potential and current clients, while assigning them to an SBDC business advisor for assistance, along with marketing and database maintenance.
Walker-Smith is a Certified Business Advisor, former Commercial Lender, small business owner, Business Banker and Tax Specialist. She has more than 20 years experience working with small business owners, focusing on access to capital.
Walker-Smith became HCSBDC’s fourth directors in January 2020. The first director, Sheila Mixon, served from 2010 to 2013; Karla Boldery, who served from January 2014 to May 2015; Charolette Harris, who served from June 2015 to December 2019.
“After a decade of societal change and new staff members, our focus remains constant — to provide business services that foster the development and growth of the small business community in Hamilton County,” Walker-Smith said.
For more information, Contact HCSBDC at (513) 487-1274 or visit www.cincinnatieec.com.