Clients of the Victoria Small Business Development Center’s network maintained their staff at a higher rate than the state average in 2021.
The average Texas business lost 4.3% of their staff in 2021 while development center clients lost just 0.4%, said Lindsay Young, director of the development center. Young spoke about services the center provides small businesses at the weekly Victoria Partnership meeting, organized by the Victoria Economic Development Corporation, on Tuesday morning.
“We are the highest performing network in the nation,” Young said. “I think it has to do with the sheer size of our state and how many centers we have, but if you look at some of these areas there’s more cows than people there. So we are really, really producing every single fiscal year.”
The network the Victoria SBDC belongs to is one of four in the state and covers an area stretching from El Paso to the coast and down to the Mexican border.
The SBDC provides counseling and training at no cost to small businesses, Young said. The organization is funded by the federal Small Business Administration and the state of Texas.
“We look at it as if you’ve already paid for us,” she said. “So use us, we’re at your disposal.”
The SBDC pairs clients with an adviser that will help develop a business plan, Young said.
“We’re not writing the business plan,” she said. “We’re helping the client. It’s their business. It’s their idea, their baby. We’re just going to help make the baby look as pretty as possible.”
To do this, the center will help with research and development, teach a client how to work with their business plan and then help with financial projections, she said.
During the height of the pandemic, the development center transitioned to operating completely virtual, Young said.
“We were able to shift very quickly to help and support our client base and then new clients that came through during the pandemic,” Young said.
The center received Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act funds during the pandemic to provide support to the county, Young said. Because it saw the greatest impact in training programs, its leaders put the funds toward those.
“We contracted with several professionals in different subject matters to provide training to our client base,” she said. “This was everything from marketing to QuickBooks to mental health.”
In 2021, the southwest Texas network to which Victoria’s development center reports served 31,651 businesses, helped create 1,399 jobs and retain 6,727 jobs. The network held 1,300 trainings, seminars and courses with 23,799 training participants in 2021.
The Victoria SBDC serves Aransas, Bee, Calhoun, DeWitt, Goliad, Gonzales, Jackson, Karnes, Lavaca, Refugio and Victoria counties.