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APSU and Chamber of Commerce breathe new life into TSBDC

Austin Peay and the Clarksville Area Chamber of Commerce announce the rebirth of the Tennessee Small Business Development Center (TSBDC), which was slated to close Oct. 29, due to a lack of long-term funding strategy.

APSU officials have announced that the TSBDC-APSU will merge with the APSU Center for Extended and Distance Education, under the leadership of Dr. Stan Groppel, dean. By January 2005, the TSBDC-APSU will relocate from Madison Street to the APSU Center for Extended and Distance Education at 106 Public Square.
Austin Peay and the Clarksville Area Chamber of Commerce announce the rebirth of the Tennessee Small Business Development Center (TSBDC), which was slated to close Oct. 29, due to a lack of long-term funding strategy.

APSU officials have announced that the TSBDC-APSU will merge with the APSU Center for Extended and Distance Education, under the leadership of Dr. Stan Groppel, dean. By January 2005, the TSBDC-APSU will relocate from Madison Street to the APSU Center for Extended and Distance Education at 106 Public Square.

According to Dr. Sherry Hoppe, president of APSU, the new alliance strengthens the TSBDC mission of providing low-cost business training, free individual business counseling and free business referrals to new and existing small businesses. In the interim, the program will offer standard TSBDC workshops, such as “Starting a Small Business” and “Government Contracting.”

In 2005, the TSBDC training program will expand to include such new classes as “Financing a New Business,” “Human Resource Skills for Small Business,” “OSHA Compliance and Workplace Safety” and “Managing the Media,” with classes provided by highly qualified business instructors from the Center for Extended and Distance Education. This new alliance will allow TSBDC workshop participants to earn Continuing Education Units for small business training.

Additionally, beginning in January 2005, the TSBDC, the APSU Center for Extended and Distance Education and the Clarksville Area Chamber of Commerce will join together to launch the Chamber Network.

This partnership will give area businesses the opportunity to share the cost of business training, thereby allowing them to take advantage of the top-quality, cost-effective training generally available only to large organizations with big budgets. The courses will be open to the public, as well as to Chamber members and TSBDC clients.

The Chamber Network will offer morning, afternoon and evening classes, as well as all-day seminars. Classes will focus on issues critical to small business, including “Time Management and Essential Organization Skills,” “Hiring and Retaining Quality Employees,” “Cultural Diversity in the Workplace” and “Business Math and Bookkeeping Basics.” Information-packed seminars will be provided by business experts from throughout the region, as well as from the Internal Revenue Service and the Tennessee Department of Revenue.

In addition, more than 40 business-training courses will be offered online, beginning in January 2005. Each of the affordable, instructor-facilitated online courses lasts six weeks and may be accessed at any time from any computer with Web access. Designed especially for small businesses, these online courses provide instruction in such areas as computer software applications, the Internet, database management and programming for the Web.

During the first three quarters of 2004, the TSBDC-APSU provided free business counseling to 200 new and existing businesses and business training to 434 current and prospective business owners in the Clarksville area.

The TSBDC is a network of professional business consultants with 12 center and two satellite offices in 14 cities throughout Tennessee.

For more information about the alliance between the TSBDC-APSU and the APSU Center for Extended and Distance Education, telephone Diane McDonald at (931) 551-4313.

For a schedule of upcoming TSBDC or Chamber Network small business training courses, telephone (931) 221-7816 or go to www.apsu.edu/ext_ed/.
—Dennie Burke