Funding will be used to expand SBDC services to rural businesses
Businesses in rural communities across Yavapai County will soon benefit from consulting services thanks to a USDA grant awarded to the Regional Economic Development Center (REDC) at Yavapai College.
The REDC submitted a grant proposal to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and its Rural Business Development Grant (RBDG) program in February and recently received notice that the proposal was selected for funding.
The award will allow YC’s Small Business Development Center (SBDC) to expand its team and increase its consulting services in Camp Verde, Yarnell, and Wickenburg.
SBDC Director Ruth Ellen Elinski said the vast geographic size of Yavapai County and limited resources have made it difficult to share the SBDC’s services in all communities.
“It has been a priority for our team to reach more rural, underserved communities across the county,” Elinski said. “I am so excited to know that we will have the resources to expand our services and really advance our mission and vision of serving Yavapai County and our small-town economies more fully.”
The SBDC has been providing no-cost confidential consulting services to Yavapai County businesses of all sizes since 1988, which has added resiliency and sustainability of businesses. Elinski cited services such as business planning, growth strategy, start-up assistance, budgeting and cash flow, among others. She said expanded services made possible by this grant will result in more frequent visits and training opportunities in the targeted communities.
“We will have team members dedicating time and effort to meeting either virtually or in-person with business owners,” she said. “It will also include more time connecting with community leaders and learning about the needs and challenges of each community.”
Elinski described the grant as “timely,” and the additional capacity will “ensure real and relevant” support to businesses.
SBDC tracks different outcomes to measure economic impact, including new business start-ups, jobs created, jobs saved, new capital investment, and sales increase, among others.
“We work with businesses moving here from other states, some struggling to get on their feet coming out of the pandemic, some just starting out, and others that are ready to expand their product or services,” she said, adding her team is ready to “get to work.”
The REDC and SBDC are organizations within Yavapai College that work in tandem to address local needs related to business and industry, economic growth, and workforce training and development.
Elinski described the relationship between the two organizations as “incredibly symbiotic.”
Businesses interested in receiving SBDC services should visit yc.edu/sbdc to create an account. They can also email firstname.lastname@example.org