The Maryland Small Business Development Center: Business Support for Every Stage

Posted by: Economic Development Team on Monday, April 24, 2017

When Kimberly Briscoe-Tonic, co-owner of Briscoe-Tonic Funeral Homes,
first approached the Community Bank of the Chesapeake for a business loan in 2003, they recommended that she connect with the Maryland Small Business Development Center (SBDC), Southern Region for help getting her business off the ground. Briscoe-Tonic began working extensively with the SBDC to draft a business plan for her Waldorf-based business, and was introduced to some of the training courses and workshops the SBDC offers.

Briscoe-Tonic attended the SBDC’s “Start Right for Success” course, one of the many low-cost or no-cost classes, workshops, and seminars offered to local entrepreneurs and business owners in Southern Maryland. The SBDC’s programming also provides businesses with the opportunity to network with other attendees, and form professional relationships with other local businesses.

The SBDC offers training and counseling services to local businesses at all stages of growth. From the earliest stages of business planning, to preparing for business sale or exit strategy, the SBDC provides a range of resources. From themed workshops on business planning, to in depth, low cost training seminars, and no cost one-on-one confidential business consulting, the SBDC is a trusted source for business owners and entrepreneurs in planning for business success.

“We help people get a good footing on what they need to know and when they need to know it,” explains Bill Hitte, the SBDC’s lead business consultant.

Business planning can often span months, or even years, during which professional support and counsel can be critical. Briscoe-Tonic began drafting a business plan in consultation with the SBDC in 2003, but it wasn’t until May 2008 that the business officially opened its doors in Waldorf. The SBDC counseled Briscoe-Tonic throughout the entire five-year process and continues to check-in to provide support when necessary. The SBDC builds long term relationships with its clients, offering to cross-check financial records and provide essential market research on the business climate in each respective industry.

“The confidential consulting we offer is a significant advantage to local businesses,” Hitte says. “We have access to a lot of resources and experienced consultants, offering a significant advantage to local businesses looking to get a foothold in the community.”

Satisfied with her experience, Briscoe-Tonic returned to the SBDC in 2010 with plans to expand her business to Mechanicsville, MD. The SBDC assisted Briscoe-Tonic in securing an additional $1.4 million loan through the Community Bank of the Chesapeake, and helped her to create a new business plan for the additional site.

Briscoe-Tonic continues to remain engaged with the SBDC, serving as a presenter for numerous SBDC training events, including the “Building a Successful Business Plan” seminar.

Businesses in Charles County, like the Briscoe-Tonic Funeral Home, can work with the SBDC to develop business plans and undergo training workshops designed to benefit companies of all sizes. The Southern Region SBDC focuses on entrepreneurs based throughout the tri-county region and can also offer insights and assistance to businesses considering relocation to the region.

Interested in learning more about the SBDC? Join us at IGNITE Charles County Business Resource Fair on May 12, where SBDC representatives will be available to answer any questions about its services.

IGNITE Charles County, which is co-sponsored by the Charles County Economic Development Department and Entrepreneur and Innovation Institute at CSM, brings local business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs together to learn more about the resources that are available to ignite their success.  To learn more about the services offered by the EDD for new businesses, entrepreneurs, and local minority businesses, please visit our Business Support page.

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