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Building Opportunities for the Community

Building Opportunities for the Community

The Tarrant Small Business Development Center Serves Tarrant County

In the years 2010-2019, population growth in DFW led the nation, with 1,349,378 new residents, according to recent data from commercial real estate services company Cushman & Wakefield. And from 2020 through 2029, DFW is projected to add another 1,393,623 people.

Rodney JohnsonAll that growth means opportunity, and DFW entrepreneurs are ready. According to a recent Bank of America economic snapshot, 94 percent of the 300 small business owners said they expect year-over-year growth, and 82 percent plan to expand in 2020, up from 80 percent in fall 2018.

That’s music to Rodney Johnson’s ears. As the director of the Tarrant Small Business Development Center (SBDC), he and his team provide the know-how to help entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses.

“It’s important for entrepreneurs to build on-target business plans with the right data and metrics such as demographics, competition, financial and pricing analysis, to name a few,” he says. “We can do that, as well as leverage our relationships with banks and financial institutions to grow and support small businesses.”

The SBDC service market focuses on clients who live in or have a business operating in Tarrant County; currently, the Center sees about 70 clients a month. The majority are looking for help with funding, training, collecting demographics, interpreting financials, marketing strategies or even network connections. The SBDC also provides training on how to start a business and helps with business growth strategies.

In just the past several months, the SBDC has helped expand businesses such as a health-care service (teaching and certifying caregivers for dementia patients), a trucking company hauling materials to and from Mississippi and an investor seeking the best way to establish fair-market-value for a pending business acquisition.

Consider the story of Regina Smith, owner of the 18-month old, Arlington-based Mama Gina’s catering company, which serves up soothing comfort food, homemade baked goods and healthy meal plan options with a southern comfort flair. “I realized that I needed a business plan to get started but wasn’t sure where to begin,” she says. “The entire SBDC team was amazing and instrumental in helping me build a solid business plan. Plus, they gave me wonderful advice on how to walk through, in my own mind, what I needed to do to take my business to the next level. Quite simply, I couldn’t have done this without them.”

Tom and Jodi Parker feel much the same way. In 2015, they started All American Tire Recyclers, a company that removes, stores, sorts and reprocesses scrap tires in Mansfield. “The SBDC helped us really focus on our business plan with a new sense of direction,” Jodi said. “And it’s great how they stay in touch with us, just to check in and see how things are going. We’re all friends!”

That sort of active follow-up is important to the health of a business. According to the Small Business Association (SBA), about 30 percent of new businesses fail during the first two years, 50 percent during the first five years and 66 percent during the first 10.

“We’re committed to the success of every business we come into contact with,” says Johnson. “And frankly, I couldn’t be more excited about the opportunities we’re providing to the community. It’s fun and rewarding to help people cultivate their dreams and then watch them flourish.”

Have an idea for a business or want to shift yours into higher gear? Contact the SBDC office: