When Cook Tucson was just a concept on a piece of paper, we signed up for free counseling from the Arizona Small Business Development Corporation (Arizona SBDC). Through grant funding, they have a program to offer free one-on-one business and financial guidance to local small businesses. The program is intended to support new business growth in the state while creating new jobs, increasing revenues, and strengthening and diversifying the economy.
We were assigned a fantastic counselor, Karen Burns. Karen is an expert in the Arizona commercial banking industry having worked as a corporate underwriter, portfolio manager and litigation manager for local and national banks. She also brings experience directing loan portfolios and managing federal grants and contracts, and serving on local boards including Lohse YMCA, Friends of Sabino Canyon, Tucson Arts District Partnership and the Fox Tucson Theatre Foundation Advisory Board. Currently, she works for Arizona SBDC providing business consulting with a focus on commercial debt financing and creating measurable economic growth for Southern Arizona.
We met face to face at her offices at Pima County Community College and walked through our business concept, objectives and where we were in the process. With her guidance, we were able to complete the business plan, obtain financing and uncover several gotchas that would have been otherwise unknown.
Entrepreneurs and business owners can sign up for counseling on the Arizona SBDC website. http://www.azsbdc.net/
Other services they offer include:
- Business Plan Assistance
- Market Feasibility and Research
- Marketing Strategy Development
- Financial Projections Development
- Identifying Sources of Capital
- SBA Loan Assistance
- Technology Development
- Intellectual Property
- Applying for Business Certifications