Downtown Hanford image by Ravyn Cullor
Written by Breanna Hardy
Kings County has a new office to support entrepreneurs and small business owners.
The Valley Community Small Business Development Center has opened an outreach office at the America’s Job Center of California in Hanford.
Valley Community Small Business Development Center has been in operation for over 40 years, first at Fresno State, and a few years ago, it moved to Clovis Community College where it operates today. It has opened its additional office in Hanford to expand business services to new and seasoned business owners. The development center opened Tuesday at 124 N. Irwin St. in Hanford.
It will operate within the Kings County One Stop Job Center to benefit businesses and residents in Kings County.
The business development center is the consulting arm of the U.S. Small Business Administration.
Valley Community Small Business Development Center Director Rich Mostert said the center serves people looking to start businesses and educates them on how to obtain financing. It also serves seasoned business professionals looking to expand their business or operate ecommerce.
The center spent the hard months of the pandemic helping businesses obtain grants and SBA loans.
Mostert said the Valley’s rural and underserved areas should not be overlooked. They are thriving communities during regular economic times but have been hard hit during the pandemic.
“In towns like in Kings County – those are often overlooked,” he said.
Mostert desires to give help and attention to areas like Corcoran, Kettleman City, Lemoore and Hanford.
He said they wanted to put their money where their mouth is and help reach underserved business communities. The development center also looks to invest in Visalia and Madera in the future.
The development center is part of the Central California Small Business Development Center, which has assisted startups and established firms with no-cost consulting services, workshops and assistance in sourcing funds.
The job center is the main source of technical and managerial assistance for small businesses. Valley Community’s goal is to promote growth, innovation, productivity and revenue for small businesses through improvement to their business administration.
“Through the generosity of our host organization, Clovis Community College, we have been serving Kings County from our Clovis office for many years. Having an outreach office within the county enables us to better provide in-person training and one-on-one advising to area small businesses in a professional setting. Our goal is to help local companies rebuild, refocus and reimagine their business as we emerge from the pandemic,” Mostert said.
Lance Lippincott, CEO of Economic Development Corporation, said that the majority of the more than 3,000 businesses in Kings County are small businesses.
“This partnership was specifically entered into with the goal of providing easily accessible assistance within the county to help small businesses to succeed,” Lippincott said. “We greatly appreciate the partnership with the Valley Community Small Business Development Center, and look forward to our continuing collaboration with this latest project.”