TSBDC helps small business owner’s dream come true

The newest kid on the education block in West Knoxville, the Goddard School for Early Childhood Development, opened in February 2007, thanks in part to Randy and Rosemary Overtons’ decision to enlist the help of the Tennessee Small Business Development Center.

The school’s accomplishments, from start-up to launch, recently earned the Overtons TSBDC’s 2008 Rising Star Award. The TSBDC is a statewide network of professional business centers, each of them offering free assistance to entrepreneurs who want to start a business and to owners of existing small businesses who want to expand.

“Each year, the Rising Star Award is given by the TSBDC network to a small-business client in each region of the state in recognition of the business’ perseverance and success,” said Larry Rossini, director of the Knoxville TSBDC office, which is administered by Pellissippi State Technical Community College.

“One of the key resources we discovered was the Tennessee Small Business Development Center so we called and made an appointment with Joe Andrews, a business specialist, who helped refine our business plan. It was a daunting task for us, because our previous experience had been creating and implementing corporate budgets and operational guidelines for large companies,” said Randy Overton.

Through the guidance of the TSBDC, the Overtons were able to identify action steps and become more confident in the viability of their plan.

“The TSBDC provided us with various sources to research vital areas such as loan structures, construction costs and insurance needs,” said Rosemary Overton. “These sources were invaluable in helping us obtain and implement cost-efficient operational processes.”

Finally, on February 5, 2007, the Overtons’ dream was realized, when the state-of-the-art facility at 125 Loudoun Road opened. The 8,000-square-foot building consists of nine classrooms that serve children ranging from 6 weeks old through pre-kindergarten age.

After one year of operation, the Goddard School has an enrollment of 150 children and a full-time staff of 28.

The business owners say they are most appreciative of the continuing relationship with the TSBDC. “They have provided ongoing follow-up calls and meetings to make sure our plans have met expectations and we are progressing in a profitable manner,” said the Overtons.

“Pellissippi State participates in the TSBDC network as part of its mission to support economic and community development,” said Teri Brahams, executive director of Business and Community Services at the college. “Most of our services are available at little or no cost to any business owner or entrepreneur in the TSBDC area.”

For more information, visit the TSBDC Web site at knoxvillesbdc.org or call 865-246-2663.

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