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USM Small Business Development Center Offers Online Workshops Amid COVID-19 Pandemic

Tue, 09/08/2020 - 09:19am | By: Van Arnold

America's SBDC MississippiIn response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, counselors at The University of Southern Mississippi’s Small Business Development Center (SBDC) have developed new ways to serve current and prospective clients.

As state-by-state lockdowns commenced last March, the SBDC began formulating a plan to maintain assistance without the customary in-person workshops. By April 1, the center had created online, “On-Demand” versions of its Business 101 Series workshops.

SBDC Counselor Rita Mitchell notes that since the April 2020 launch more than 3,000 parties have registered and participated in the online workshops. As an example, she cites the recent “Steps to Correctly Establish a Small Business in Mississippi” which saw 70 online participants.

“It is clearly a positive, client-centric way to serve our entrepreneurial community while we are sheltering and beyond,” said Mitchell.

USM created its Small Business Development Center through a partnership with the Small Business Administration, the Mississippi Small Business Development Center Network, the University of Mississippi, the Trent Lott National Center, and the College of Business and Economic Development at USM. The MSBDC includes nine basic service centers throughout the state.

Since its inception in early 2015, USM’s SBDC has served almost 2,000 clients with direct workshop training online/email assistance and in-person counseling. Additionally, there have been 88 business start-ups, approximately $25 million in capital infusion and several hundred jobs created.

As the pandemic shows few signs of slowing down, SBDC counselors maintain a rigorous work schedule to serve clients. Mitchell points out that since March the staff has been basically working seven days a week.

“We’re still working daily and tirelessly to assist hundreds of small businesses and re-imagining their finance, staff structure, inventory, business models and upgrading their digital outreach to have the best chance for survival for our future commerce cycles,”

said Mitchell. “We are committed to the survival, success, and vitality of our small business community and our unique Pine Belt ‘quality of place.’ ”

The following workshops are now available online and those interested can register here:



BUS 101-01: “Starting a Business – First Steps”

BUS 101-02: “How to Develop a Business Plan”

BUS 101-03: “Cash Flow Projections for Your Business Plan”



BUS 201-01: “Digital Marketing for the Future”

BUS 201-02: “Get Productive with Google’s Digital Tools”

BUS 201: "Manage Your Business Remotely in Times of Uncertainty"


To learn more about USM’s Small Business Development Center, call 601.266.5507 or visit: