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The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

The Channels

The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

The Channels

New small business centers open at SBCC’s Wake, Schott campuses

Ryan Painter
The Schott Campus’ main office on April 7 in Santa Barbara, Calif. The Small Business Development Centers, located at both the Schott and Wake campuses, were made to help students get business loans, write contracts and map out business strategies.

City College’s Small Business Development Centers (SBDC) are now up in running in-person on both the Schott and Wake campuses, providing free assistance for small businesses in the Santa Barbara community.

The SBDC is in collaboration with the Economic Development Collaborative (EDC), which has been involved in Ventura County for 25 years and is now in Santa Barbara County. 

Interim Vice President for the School of Extended Learning Carola Smith, Strategic Alliance Associate Shelby Arthur and Client Services Manager Andres Tovar have all been heavily involved with incorporating the EDC’s resources into the business centers.

“The SBDC is open to anyone in the community who is thinking about starting their own business, or who already started a business and needs advice expanding the business or even technical advice,” Smith said.

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The SBDC offers services including how to obtain a business license or business loan, how to write a legal contract, how to write strategic or marketing plans for businesses and catering to whatever needs a business owner may have. 

Additionally, the SBDC offers credit and non-credit courses. Credit students have access to the entrepreneurial program offered through the business division at City College. Non-credit students, of which a large demographic are ESL (English as a Second Language) students, can use the SBDC’s resources.

“[ESL students] may have moved to the United States from another country and may have owned another business in another country, but because of the language barrier and because of unfamiliarity with the U.S. system, they need assistance to be able to start a business here,” Smith said. 

Tovar was a City College student before his role with the SBDC and received mentorship from the former City College professor and current SBDC Director Ray Bowman, leading up to his future background in international trade.

“[Bowman] was very passionate about trade in general and he’s the guy who was a mentor to me and now to be a part of this is awesome because I get the opportunity to talk with people from different countries and help them develop a plan for success,” Tovar said.

The SBDC is open from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Wednesdays at the Wake Campus Room 2 and 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Thursdays at the Schott Campus Room 1. Additional resources are also available through the Economic Development Collaborative’s website.

“When I encounter clients I know what it is like to be in the position that they are in, so I like to engage with every single individual I can,” Tovar said.

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