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SBDC lands permanent satellite office

Posted: January 6, 2012 1:55 a.m.
Updated: January 6, 2012 1:55 a.m.

The Small Business Development Center located in Santa Clarita announced Tuesday that is it opening a full-time satellite office to serve the Antelope Valley by partnering with the University of Antelope Valley.

A news conference held Thursday officially opened the new Antelope Valley Small Business & Entrepreneurship Center on the university’s campus in Lancaster.

“I first met Sandra and Marco Johnson, founders of the university, when the SBDC did a training event with the city of Lancaster for retail businesses,” said Steve Tannehill, SBDC director.

“Lancaster had just completed its redevelopment of The BLVD in the downtown business district and there were a lot of new businesses that had moved in,” Tannehill said. “We put on a half-day event to help the business owners get organized and become successful.

“We wanted to attract an entrepreneur to the event who had been successful and so we reached out to Sandra and Marco as keynote speakers. Over time, we talked and they have a really great entrepreneurial spirit and drive,” Tannehill said.

The relationship also developed as the SBDC was running out of space.

Permanent home

Previously, the SBDC had been borrowing space in the Antelope Valley Board of Trade offices to provide services and conduct training seminars to business owners.

It was a great partnership, but over time as the SBDC’s services grew in the area, the nonprofit business-consulting service needed a more permanent space.

“We went from using it once in a while to several times a week,” Tannehill said. “We were growing and needed more space.”

So together, the University of Antelope Valley and the SBDC developed a plan to operate out of the university’s campus, giving the SBDC access to computer labs and classrooms for training seminars, a consulting office and access to a large ballroom.

“The Johnsons have a broad vision of providing resources to the Antelope valley and we developed a really good relationship,” Tannehill said.

“We are so excited about having the SBDC here at the University of Antelope Valley,” said Sandra Johnson, co-founder and CEO of UAV. “This partnership aligns our goals as educators with the entrepreneurial spirit the Antelope Valley is known for, and we cannot wait to see the new businesses and jobs created from this opportunity.”

“There are a number of small businesses and a lot of Ph.D.-types involved in the aerospace industry and up there,” Tannehill said. The Mojave Air and Space Port, Lockheed, Northrop Grumman and Plant 42, a federally owned military aerospace facility under the control of the Air Force up there.

“There’s a lot of intellectual talent up there,” Tannehill said. “We think we can help them with some of the services we provide.”

The cities of Lancaster and Palmdale, and Wells Fargo, also have been very supportive of the SBDC’s efforts in the area, he said. With their assistance, the SBDC has been able to substantially increase its presences in the Antelope Valley, resulting in a 60 percent increase in services over the past year.

In 2011, those increased services helped Antelope Valley small-business owners raise more than $1.1 million in capital, while creating 157 new jobs and starting three new businesses.

“The SBDC provides excellent services in which Antelope Valley residents and our students alike can utilize in fulfilling their dreams of business ownership,” Sandra Johnson said.


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