New small busi­ness cen­ter good for Merced, of­fi­cials say

Merced Sun-Star (Saturday) - - Atwater Signal - BY THADDEUS MILLER tmiller@mer­ced­

Merced is now home to the head­quar­ters for an or­ga­ni­za­tion that pro­vides con­sult­ing, train­ing and other re­sources for small busi­ness own­ers through­out the Cen­tral San Joaquin Val­ley, ac­cord­ing to of­fi­cials.

In an at­tempt to ex­pand its Merced pres­ence, ac­cord­ing to lead­ers, the Small Busi­ness Devel­op­ment Cen­ter Net­work moved its lead of­fice from Fresno to down­town Merced in Oc­to­ber. The cen­ter, which is also con­nected to UC Merced, nur­tures small busi­nesses.

The of­fice has dozens of con­sul­tants and gives small-busi­ness own­ers — and peo­ple who want to start a small busi­ness — pro­fes­sional ad­vice from ex­perts in 14 coun­ties, ac­cord­ing to a news re­lease.

The train­ing, work­shops and con­sul­ta­tions to busi­ness own­ers is free from the Cen­tral Cal­i­for­nia arm of the net­work, which has been around since 2003. The as­so­ci­a­tion says its ef­forts have helped cre­ate and re­tain more than 10,000 jobs, and cre­ate more than $435 mil­lion in loans and eq­uity.

The net­work takes pride in the ad­vice it gives to small busi­ness, ac­cord­ing to Kurt Clark, the ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the as­so­ci­a­tion in this re­gion. He pre­vi­ously served 15 years as di­rec­tor of the Val­ley Sierra branch of the as­so­ci­a­tion in Modesto.

“Like other cities in our re­gion, Merced is home to many mis­sion-driven small busi­nesses and bur­geon­ing ven­ture star­tups,” he said in a state­ment. “We’re proud to give them ac­cess to the

AN­DREW KUHN akuhn@mer­ced­

Merced res­i­dents Kaitlin Han­shew, 22, left, and Tori Rowe, 21, right, look at a wall of hats while shop­ping at Envy Fine Cloth­ing lo­cated at 3564 G Street, dur­ing Small Busi­ness Satur­day in Merced, Calif. in 2016.

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