The University of Georgia's Small Business Development Center (SBDC) provides education and consulting to businesses large and small across the state of Georgia. On Thursday August 29 at Ringgold City Hall the Ringgold Downtown Development Authority partnered with the SBDC to host "Finding Money for Your Small Business," a class on how start-ups and growing businesses can fund their expansion. SBDC Program Coordinator Kinsey Hicks gave the details on what the class offers to business owners who are in search for the right type of funding, "Topics include different financing options such as bank loans, SBA guaranteed loans, non-bank lenders, private investors, and the myths and realities of grant funding." According to the SBDC website, their mission is "...to enhance the economic well-being of Georgians by providing a wide range of educational services for small business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs."
The two hour class and luncheon was led by Mr. Matt Pearce who shared his own experience of owning a small business in Northwest Georgia as well as the fundamentals of how small companies can approach financing. "We want to give businesses the tools to have the greatest likelihood of success," Mr. Pearce said. Also bringing expert experience to the class was SBDC Consultant Richard Montanaro, the senior director for SBDC's Rome/Dalton regional offices. "The response to this class was so great, we look forward to hosting many more of these in Ringgold."
These "lunch-&-learn," style classes typically cost $70-80 including a meal and materials so to help make the class an affordable option for those on a tight budget, Wells Fargo offered scholarships to attendees to dramatically reduce the cost. The SBDC offers a variety of consultation and research services as well as a curriculum of classes on everything from product pricing to small business marketing. Director of Downtown Development, Joseph Brellenthin, explained that "state agencies offer a lot of great resources but being so close to the border we tend to be overlooked." After attending a class in Calhoun, GA last spring Mr Brellenthin and the Downtown Development Authority decided to sponsor a class in Ringgold. Mr. Brellenthin said, "Ringgold's location makes it a great place for all of the Northwest Georgia communities and cities along Interstate 75 to gather for conferences and meetings like this class."