A new partnership involving California State University, Fresno’s Office of Community and Economic Development (OCED) is designed to extend services to entrepreneurs and the small business community in the central San Joaquin Valley.

OCED will work with the University of California, Merced Small Business Development Center (SBDC), Fresno-based Central Valley Business Incubator (CVBI) and U.S. Small Business Administration to develop sustainable, job-generating enterprises in the region.

The goal is to turn innovative ideas into new businesses equipped to grow, while helping established small businesses thrive so they can add employment opportunities and improve the local economy.

Mike Dozier, director of OCED, said, “Our office works very closely with CVBI on a number of programs and projects. The opportunities that SBDC provides are very much in line with CVBI’s strengths.”

A news conference and open house announcing the new alliance is scheduled 3-6 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 9, at the business incubator, 1630 E. Shaw Ave., Suite 163, Fresno.

Fresno State’s Office of Community and Economic Development is designed to leverage the university’s intellectual capacity and innovation-driven economic development initiatives to improve competitiveness and long-term prosperity in the Valley. Key alliances headquartered at Fresno State and dedicated to the mission are the Regional Jobs Initiative and California Partnership for the San Joaquin Valley.

The university also has worked extensively with CVBI over the years, including the on-campus Claude Laval Water and Energy Technology Center, which helps start businesses in those fields. Fresno State’s Lyles Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship works with the CVBI on numerous programs designed to develop a regionwide spirit of inventiveness and climate of new-business encouragement.

UC Merced’s SBDC nationally accredited program assists business owners and entrepreneurs with business plans, loan package proposals, financial systems and projections advice, expansion plan evaluations and cash flow issues. It also provides technology needs assessment information, and research, international trade and procurement assistance.

In addition to free one-on-one business consulting, the management team offers a variety of workshops and seminars.

The UC Merced SBDC network is a nationally accredited program, largely funded by the Small Business Administration.

For more information, contact Dozier at mdozier@csufresno.edu.

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