Thanks, in part, to a generous grant from the Verizon Foundation, the Small Business Development Center of Hampton Roads, Inc. is pleased to announce the expansion of its former website into a regional information portal which is designed to provide users with information, online training, contacts and calendars.  The web address for the new portal will be the same as before, www.hrsbdc.org.

“This is the second revision for the website which was first started in the early 2000’s”  Jim Carroll, the Center’s Executive Director stated:  “If you asked me when we originally started our first website that technology and access to information would have expanded to where we are today, I would have laughed in disbelief.  The portal we designed  and released is exponentially better than our original site, but the goal is still the same…provide the best possible information to the region’s small business owners so that they can effectively, efficiently and profitably run and manage their businesses.”

Small businesses play a critical role in the nation’s economy.  Usually derided as “Mom and Pops”, small business owners account for nearly half of all employment in the United States and make up 99.7% of all employers.  People tend to forget that giant firms today such as WalMart, Apple, Nike, UnderArmour, Microsoft, Google and a whole host more, all started as small businesses.  Since access to relevant information is one of the keys to success in operating a small business, the SBDC’s mission is to providing counseling, training and technical assistance to small businesses throughout the eighteen cities and counties of southeastern Virginia as well as the Eastern Shore.

Vectec Solutions, a spinoff of the website’s original design firm was responsible for bringing the site to fruition.  “It was logical that this company was selected to complete this site.  They have been working with the SBDC since the inception of the original site and were fully versed in our organizations’ vision, mission and requirements.  As a result, they provided us with a clean, functional site which is easier to navigate and understand than its predecessor.”  Carroll added.

The Center will be tracking the new site’s performance on Google Analytics to determine its overall effectiveness in meeting the information demands of the region’s small business owners.  While our previous sites were good it is anticipated that, due to the ease of navigation, increase in content and layout of the new site, more people will use the site as their primary source of small business information.

The SBDC is a non-profit entity and is a program of the Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce and operates as a part of the Virginia Small Business Development Center Network which is hosted by the Mason Enterprise Center at GMU.  Funding for the Center comes partially from the US Small Business Administration under a cooperative agreement and is supported locally by municipalities and others who provide both cash and in-kind contributions.  Founded in 1990, the Center has helped small business owners who are its clients create over 8,700 jobs and generate over $383 million in economic impact for the region.  In addition to its small business web portal, the Center also maintains a website specifically dedicated to small business lending at www.hrsmallbizloans.com .