UTPA Report: Small Business Development Center

University of Texas-Pan American
Wednesday, February 12, 2014 - 11:09am

Ever thought about owning your own business but don't know where to start? The University of Texas-Pan American has a center that provides assistance to those wanting to be their own boss. Reporter Jennifer Berghom has more on that story.

Becky Medellin left a career in television to pursue a much sweeter opportunity.

Medellin and her family opened Scratch Kitchen Cupcake and Bake Shop in Edinburg recently.

But even before they opened the bakery's doors, they knew they needed help setting up their new business.

They found that assistance through the Small Business Development Center at The University of Texas-Pan American, Becky Medellin, "I knew it would be a lot of work and that we would need some money saved up to get started, but I think I didn't realize all the expenses. They helped me think of some expenses that I hadn't thought of and the little things that add up."

The S-B-D-C has been offering assistance to new and existing businesses since 1986.

In the past fiscal year, the center helped open 84 new businesses and expand 21 established ones.

Janie Caballero, a senior business adviser at the S-B-D-C, guided Medellin in starting her business, "We offer free technical assistance to individuals who either want to start a business or who already have an existing business. Our help is free and is confidential. The assistance that we provide is everything from business planning to technical assistance to trade assistance. We cover the four counties, which is Cameron, Starr, Willacy and Hidalgo, and we have advisers who conveniently are able to meet with clients throughout these four counties."

Caballero says that the S-B-D-C has people who can assist entrepreneurs with their specific needs, "We have a group of advisers who specialize in trade, so if they have any questions on importing and exporting and international trade, you know, there's assistance for that. We're able also to assist individuals who have an intellectual property question. if they want to know if their idea is patentable or if they have a copyright or ... if they have a question or resources that they need to get we're here to help."

For Medellin, getting assistance from the center made all the difference, "I would just say that the people at the SBDC make themselves very available. Janie has always been there, even on short notice. if I call her or email her and even when I was working full time and I didn't have a very open schedule she was always available on the phone if I need her on the phone or via email. So they're really helpful and I would advise anyone thinking of starting a business to get in touch with them."

I'm Jennifer Berghom reporting for UTPA and News Center 23.

To learn more about the center, call (956) 665-7535. Once again, the center provides services free of charge.

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