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Released September 16, 2003


LONG BEACH - By moving into another facility, The University of Southern Mississippi Small Business Development Center will be able to service its clients better.

"Because of our move to a larger site, we now have enhanced capabilities to improve our service," said Lucy Betcher, director of the SBDC, which is located at the Gulf Park campus in Long Beach. "This move has given us greater opportunity to provide wider and more beneficial services to help ensure the success of the Harrison, Hancock, Stone, Jackson and George County prospective and existing small-business owners that we serve."

The need for more space was apparent in January when the SBDC expanded its service area and then added more personnel.

Operations for the Small Business Development Center in Jackson, Stone and George counties were reassigned to Southern Miss at that time. Formerly under control of the Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College, these three counties are now under the university's management.

The SBDC is still located at the Gulf Park campus, but is housed in a different building. The new location, 143 Beach Park Place, features a classroom; the previous facility did not. The move has allowed the SBDC to be connected to its resource library and computer lab. At the other facility, the center could only see a maximum of about 12 people for startup counseling sessions or workshops. In the new building, as many as 50 people can be serviced.

Also, with the addition of two new employees, additional office space was needed. Billy Lawson of Gulfport was hired in May as a part-time business counselor. Lawson, a native of Kentucky, holds a master of business administration degree from Upper Iowa University. He covers Jackson and George counties.

Vance Adolph of Bay St. Louis was hired in June as another part-time business counselor. A native of New Orleans, he holds a master of business administration degree from the University of New Orleans. He previously worked at a small-business development center at Nicholls State University in Thibodeaux, La. He sees clients in both Long Beach and Stone counties.

The new location allows complete handicapped accessibility, as well as allowing the center to conduct all but the largest training events under one roof. Clients will now

be able to obtain all services provided at this location at a single address. Previously, space on campus would have to be reserved for large workshops and the SBDC would have to work with the university to find open classrooms, which made scheduling workshops difficult.

The SBDC is a nonprofit, government-funded organization designed to provide comprehensive management and technical assistance to owners and potential owners of small businesses. There are 20 development centers throughout Mississippi. Before taking over the additional counties, Southern Miss Gulf Coast was responsible for Harrison and Hancock counties.

For more information on the SBDC and its services call (228) 865-4578.


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April 20, 2004 4:09 PM