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Business Tip: SBDC works to be the regional economic connector

By By Joe Humphreys
Dec. 24, 2013 at 6:24 a.m.


As I sit down to write this article, 2013 is coming to a close. There are a lot of topics to choose from to write about during this time of the year.

I would like to discuss some of my thoughts about the region we work in at the SBDC. Our regional territory is 11 counties going from Aransas County up to Gonzales County, and Karnes County over to Jackson County.

For a relatively small area, there are a lot of different opportunities, challenges and desires.

This month, the University of Houston-Victoria broke ground on the new Academic & Regional Economic Building on our campus.

From everything I have heard, the economic development of our region is going to be a very big issue going forward.

Last year, we invited a site locator to Victoria to give us an outside view of economic development. One of his messages was, "a region is so much stronger than an individual city or community." This is very important, and the part our new facility can play could be a game changer.

The Golden Crescent area we live in has some interesting opportunities. The one we hear the most about is the Eagle Ford Shale find and productivity. For many of the small businesses in our region, this has both an upside and a downside.

On the positive side, there appears to be record sales and opportunities for our service and accommodation businesses.

The downside is limited people to work in these small-service businesses.

At the SBDC, our economic development effort focuses on business activities; accounting, marketing, management and finance. We help businesses grow. Economic development is more of a future focused effort compared to what we do every day.

In the 11 counties we work, we have developed relationships with the chambers, EDCs and community leaders in an effort to bring our services to the local businesses. It is the plan of our new regional economic effort to make us stronger as a region.

The approximate population of our 11-county region is 250,000. If you go out and make a circle 150 miles around Victoria, there are about 10 million people living that close to us. While we live in a relatively rural area, we are surrounded by large population bases. To me, this would seem to be a tremendous opportunity for some economic development, particularly as a region.

Opportunity seems to be a key word for our region. Hopefully, our new center can become a connector for our region and the communities to build on for our future.

With 2014 just around the corner, here is wishing everyone a Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year.

Joe Humphreys is the director of the UHV SBDC and a Certified Business Advisor IV. To make an appointment for business services or register for a UHV SBDC workshop, call the center at 361-485-4485 or email at sbdc@uhv.edu.

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