HANNIBAL, Mo. -- A Small Business Development Center office will open soon in Hannibal to provide assistance to new and existing businesses.
The SBDC office will operate in association with the Hannibal Regional Economic Development Council, headquartered at 3817 McMasters Ave. in the lower level of the Homebank building. The office will serve Marion, Clark, Lewis, Shelby, Ralls and Pike counties.
Cory Mehaffy, executive director of the HREDC, said the council plans to hire an "entrepreneurial specialist" to work in the SBDC office. The specialist will be available to give personalized assistance to help business owners in various ways.
Applications for the position are now being accepted.
Mehaffy said entrepreneurial specialists use their expertise to help business owners with critical business development issues such as management, marketing and strategic planning. All one-on-one counseling is confidential.
Mehaffy, who became director of the HREDC at the beginning of 2019, said he had plans all along to add an SBDC entrepreneurship specialist to his team. This finally became possible once the Missouri Small Business Development Center and the University of Missouri Extension Business Development Program recently announced plans to establish the new regional SBDC office in Hannibal.
Mehaffy said the HREDC has been making entrepreneurial specialists available to local business owners since the beginning of the year by connecting with out-of-town SBDC counselors.
"We have already had a few success stories in the Hannibal market with new businesses opening in historic downtown Hannibal after working with SBDC counselors," he said. "We look for that impact to increase significantly as we bring a full-time entrepreneurship specialist on staff in the coming weeks."
Mehaffy said the SBDC provides "critical resources" to small businesses -- "from concept to start up, growth to renewal, mature to succession and everything in-between."
He said the HREDC entrepreneurship specialist will be available to help business owners succeed "at every stage" of the business life cycle.
The Missouri SBDC is funded in part through the U.S. Small Business Administration.
The SBDC not only offers one-on-one counseling by appointment, but it also offers occasional group training events on various business-related topics such as understanding financial statements, customer discovery, business planning and cash flow analysis.
SBDC offices are located across the state through partnerships with area colleges, universities and economic development organizations.
More information is at the HREDC's website: hredc.com.