Imperial Valley Small Business Development Center Finds New Home with Imperial Regional Alliance

For Immediate Release

February 10, 2017

Media Contact

Daniel Fitzgerald, Associate Regional Director San Diego & Imperial SBDC Network,, (619) 216-6721

Sean Wilcock, Interim Imperial Valley SBDC Director,, (760) 353-8332

Imperial Valley Small Business Development Center Finds New Home with Imperial Regional Alliance

El Centro, CA – Imperial Valley small business owners and entrepreneurs once again have a local organization hosting the Small Business Development Center in Imperial County. The San Diego and Imperial Small Business Development Center Network, hosted by Southwestern Community College District, earlier this year awarded a sub-recipient agreement to the Imperial Regional Alliance to be the host for the Imperial Valley SBDC.

“The Imperial Regional Alliance will be a great asset to small businesses and entrepreneurs in the Imperial Valley as the host for the IVSBDC. Their knowledge and experience with economic development in Imperial County is vast. We are excited to have the IRA as part of the San Diego & Imperial SBDC team,” said Marquise Jackson, Regional Director

“Hosting the Imperial Valley SBDC will further our mission to help the economy of Imperial County,” said Tom DuBose, Chairman of the Imperial Regional Alliance. “Small businesses and entrepreneurs are what made the Imperial Valley and will help grow for years to come. We are excited to be an even greater part of that growth.”

The contract was approved by Southwestern Community College District’s Governing Board on January 10th. The Imperial Regional Alliance will receive $75,000 annually as a sub-recipient of the US Small Business Administration funding for the San Diego and Imperial SBDC Network.

About San Diego & Imperial SBDC Network

The San Diego and Imperial Regional SBDC Network is funded in part by the U. S. Small Business Administration. The Network is hosted by the Southwestern Community College District. Network services are provided by the South San Diego SBDC Center in National City, the North San Diego SBDC Center in Oceanside, and the Imperial Valley SBDC Center in El Centro. For more information please visit

About Imperial Regional Alliance

Imperial Regional Alliance is focused on improving economic opportunities for the residents of the region through economic development and business expansion efforts by implementing programs that align business education and workforce development with existing and emerging industries.

SBDC’s “Connecting with Capital Expo” Brings Together 100 Local Businesses and Lenders

SBDC’s Carla Holland, Daniel Fitzgerald and Marquise Jackson, Congressman Juan Vargas, and SBDC’s Suderchan Shaunak. Photo taken by Mauricio Vargas.

On July 21, 2016, San Diego’s Small Business Development Center (SBDC) hosted its first of a series of “Connecting with Capital” events that brought together San Diego’s small business community with area banks and lenders.

Attended by over 100 businesses and lenders, the event offered an opportunity for private “on the spot” meetings with lenders in addition to panel discussions and speakers who offered tips and real world advice about the oftentimes complex financing process to area business owners.

“Our mission is to provide free support to the San Diego business community to get the capital they need to grow their businesses, and today was a perfect embodiment of that mission,” said Marquise Jackson, Director of the SBDC’s San Diego and Imperial Valley Network.

Held at Chula Vista’s City Council Chambers, the crowd was welcomed by U.S. Congressman Juan Vargas (D-CA 51st District), who took the podium to offer his office’s assistance as an ally and advocate to San Diego’s small business community.

A panel discussion moderated by SBDC’s Gareth Pronovost gave the audience direct access to top area lenders featuring Matt Diamond (US Bank), Cindy Gomper-Graves (South County EDC), Rosa Elena Enriquez (City of San Diego), Eddie Landeros (CDC Small Business Finance), Rosalinda Delgado (Accion), and Tim Robertson (Robertson Working Capital).

Additional speakers included Gary Halbert (City Manager of Chula Vista), and Bill Martinez of San Diego Credit Recovery.

Participating banks and lenders included Accion, Bank of Southern California, Bank of the West, Banner Bank, CDC Small Business Finance, Comerica Bank, Navy Federal Credit Union, Primary Funding, Robertson Working Capital, Sea Coast Commerce Bank, Sun West Bank and US Bank.

Other participating organizations included the Chula Vista Chamber of Commerce, Diamond Business Association, National City Chamber of Commerce, San Diego Credit Recovery and the South County Economic Development Council.

Photo 2


San Diego & Imperial Valley SBDC Logo

Registration open for new Entrepreneurship Academy

As of May 2015, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that 15.5 million people were self-employed — an increase of 1 million from the prior year.[1] In a separate study, it is estimated that more than 40 percent of the workforce (60 million people) will be independent workers or freelancers by 2020.[2] To keep abreast of these workforce changes, SDWP partnered with Southwestern Community College District’s Small Business Development Center (SBDC) to provide training from SBDC’s Entrepreneurship Academy to workers who may want to start their own businesses or join the emerging freelance economy.

The Entrepreneurship Academy is a series of workshops that teaches participants how to start a business. In just six weeks, participants will learn about technology, business resources, legal issues, hiring practices and more. Participants will also receive at least two hours of one-on-one counseling with an expert SBDC advisor who has experience starting his/her own business. Participants must attend all 6 workshops in order to be eligible for a certificate.

The first cohort of SBDC’s Entrepreneurship Academy is scheduled to begin on June 23, 2016 with 20 participants. The second cohort is scheduled to start on August 8, 2016. Training seats are available at a first-come, first-serve basis.

The Entrepreneurship Academy is available at no cost to job seekers enrolled at the America’s Job Center of California (AJCC). Participants must be enrolled as Dislocated Workers, who have lost a job because his or her employer has moved, shut down, or reduced its workforce. Job seekers are encouraged to check in with their case managers at the AJCC if they are unsure whether or not they are eligible as a Dislocated Worker. All participants must have an active CalJOBS number in order to register for the Entrepreneurship Academy.

To register for the Entrepreneurship Academy, visit


SBA Recognizes SBDC’s 35th Anniversary and Contributions to the Nation’s Small Businesses

News Release



Release Date:  September 10, 2015 Contact:  Miguel Ayala (202) 205-6420
Release Number: 15-71 Internet Address:

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SBA Recognizes SBDC’s 35th Anniversary and Contributions to the Nation’s Small Businesses


WASHINGTON – Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) today commended the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) program, the largest SBA-supported counseling and training network, on its 35 years of service to the American people.

“Over the last 35 years, millions of entrepreneurs have been able to launch and grow their businesses because of the counseling they’ve received at Small Business Development Centers across the country,” said SBA Administrator Contreras-Sweet. “SBA is proud of the partnership we have with the SBDC’s and the role we’ve played in helping to fund and shape the world’s largest and strongest network of advisors. SBDCs give us a competitive advantage in the global economy. They ensure the uncommon ingenuity and hard work of our small business owners is matched by their financial acumen and mastery of business fundamentals.”

The SBDC network counseled more than 1.2 million clients from 2009 through 2014, fueled by $750 million in grants from the SBA. That has resulted in 82,000 new small businesses, access to $24 billion in capital, and $131 billion in small business revenue and sales.

SBDCs provide free counseling, as well as no-cost and low-cost training assistance, to small businesses and aspiring entrepreneurs through 63 lead SBDCs at more than 900 outreach locations, operating in every state, the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico, American Samoa and the U.S. Virgin Islands.  A model of public-private partnership, the SBDCs are hosted by leading universities and state economic development agencies that work in cooperation with the SBA to provide services to small businesses.  They help entrepreneurs realize their dreams of business ownership and aid existing businesses through consulting and training services.  In fiscal year 2014, the SBDC program counseled and trained nearly 500,000 small business clients.

The America’s SBDC (ASBDC) Network President Charles “Tee” Rowe added, “America’s small businesses are truly the engine of economic growth, and for 35 years, America’s SBDCs have been like spark plugs helping to keep that engine going.  SDBCs are driving small business growth by helping to create a new business every 33 minutes and a new job every seven minutes.”

Since its start, the SBDCs services have adapted to meet the changing needs of entrepreneurs and their expanding global presence.  They continue to help entrepreneurs achieve the American dream of business ownership.

Administrator Contreras-Sweet will deliver the closing keynote at the ASBDC conference in San Francisco this week. To learn more about the SBDC program or to locate the SBDC nearest you, visit


GO-Biz Awards $2 Million to 41 Small Business Development Centers

GO-Biz Awards $2 Million to CA SBDC Network for Capital Infusion Assistance

Grant Expands No-Cost, One-on-One Business Advising to Help San Diego and Imperial County Small Businesses to Secure Loans and Venture Capital

SAN DIEGO – Furthering its efforts to provide greater access to capital for small business owners and entrepreneurs in the state of California, the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz) announced the awarding of $197,500 to the San Diego and Imperial Small Business Development Center Network to provide one-on-one, no-cost consulting in attaining loans and venture capital.
The grant is part of a $2 million, a one-year allocation, that will benefit 41 Small Business Development Centers in California by providing crucial matching money needed to draw down a Federal grant from the U.S. Small Business Administration.

“The San Diego District Office of the U.S. Small Business Administration is pleased with the support provided by the state of California to the Small Business Development Centers to help provide needed services to those who are trying to develop new businesses or improve existing ones. “said Ruben Garcia, District Director.” We have much to do and much more to accomplish, state funding will help reach these goals. “He added.

The 2015-16 state budget signed by Governor Brown renewed the Capital Infusion Program, which provides a one-time grant to the California Small Business Development Center (SBDC) Network. Through the competitive grant program, individual SBDCs were awarded grant funds that are to be used for one-on-one business consulting services to assist small businesses with capital infusion including SBA loans, non-SBA loans, alternative financing and non-owner equity investment.

“San Diego and Imperial SBDC Network provided assistance to more than 1,700 small businesses last year and we helped our clients access $19.45 million in capital to start and grow,” said San Diego and Imperial SBDC Regional Director Marquise Jackson.  “The matching funds that GO-Biz provides are key to our success.  We look forward to another year of helping entrepreneurs make their small business dreams a reality.”

Business owners that are interested in receiving no-cost consulting can locate their closest SBDC by visiting

About the San Diego and Imperial SBDC Network Program: The San Diego and Imperial Small Business Development Center (SBDC) Program is the leader in providing small business owners and entrepreneurs with the tools and guidance needed to become successful. SBDCs provide comprehensive and expert guidance on issues such as start-up basics, financing, business and marketing plan development, procurement and government contracting.  One-on-one advising is funded by the U.S. Small Business Administration and local partners and is offered at no cost. Consulting is supplemented by low-cost or free seminars and conferences. These services are delivered throughout San Diego and Imperial counties via a network of 3 Small Business Development Centers. Learn more by visiting:

Mobile website optimization

Is Your Site Mobile-Friendly? If Not, Expect to Lose Visibility.

Google has been urging business owners and webmasters for quite some time to make their websites user-friendly on mobile devices. User-friendly means several things, but it essentially boils down to usability. Google believes that websites that do not adjust screen size, font size and image pixelation for mobile devices is a bad user experience.

What is mobile-friendly?

Let’s take a look at a couple examples. Below is an image of several websites with their mobile-friendly version. A really well optimized site will view nicely on all devices; a desktop, tablet and mobile phone.

Look at the two example below (you can click on them to enlarge). The first is my agency website and the second is from one of my cleints in New York City. You can see in both examples that the mobile version is very easy for consumers to get the information they need. How do you accomplish this? It’s a bit technical to explain, but not so difficult to implement. If you want more details, make an appointment with me and I’ll help you with it (by the way, there is no charge to meet with an SBDC advisor and you can meet with me as many times as you want).

You can even provide better user features on mobile than you can on a desktop version. Notice the two buttons at the top of the page for M&D? One is a Click-to-Call button and the other is a Click-to-Text. M&D makes it very easy for consumers to contact them.

mobile site optimization

Now look at the websites below. These examples were pretty easy to find, which tells me there are a lot of sites out there that are going to see their rankings in Google drop (more on that in a moment). Notice how there is no adjustment to help the consumer view the site on a smaller screen. Google considers this a bad user experience. So do I. In both examples, the desktop versions show nicely, but in mobile, the one on the left has overlapping text and doesn’t show the complete page. The one on the right is almost entirely blank. These could be fine companies, but consumers would never know it because they probably hit the back button and moved on to another contractor.

Bad mobile website ooptimization

What kind of penalty can I expect?

So “penalty” may be a bit harsh. Google is not really penalizing websites, but they have said that websites that are not mobile-friendly can expect a drop in rankings. How far? It’s anyone’s guess. It depends on your market and how well most of your competitors are optimized for mobile. It is certain, however, mobile-friendly websites will rank better in mobile search and I wouldn’t be surprised if that ranking carried over to desktop as well. At the moment, search results for both versions are identical. We’ll see if that changes after the 21st.

How do I know if my site is mobile-friendly?

Google has provided a tool to help you determine how well the mobile version of your website is optimized for consumer experience. Go here to enter your website address and Google will tell you if you need to some work to make your website more mobile-friendly.

When can I expect rankings to change?

If your website is not mobile-friendly, expect it to drop in rankings on April, 21st, 2015. That’s what the industry is calling “mobilegeddon.”

How do I keep my website from losing its rank in Google?

Ask your web developer. He or she will need to get to work. If you don’t have a web developer, make an appointment with me at the SBDC as soon as possible and I will help you. We can discuss your website and your internet marketing as well. It’s all a free service to local entrepreneurs and business owners. Our contact info is in the footer of this page, but you can contact the SBDC at (619) 482-6391.

Welcome to the SBDC!

Welcome to the Small Business Development Center and our brand new website! This website is just the first of many new changes from the SBDC – all designed to help you, the small business owner or entrepreneur, build a successful and profitable business.

If you are unfamiliar with who we are, then this website was re-designed specifically for you. You’ll find all sorts of resources and tools to assist business owners in San Diego and Imperial Counties. We provide advisors and workshops to help you with business planning, management, marketing, financing, operations, web design, fulfillment, international trade, payroll and a whole lot more. The best part is that since our funding comes from the SBA, grants and private contributions, our services are offered at no cost to you.

Small business is the lifeblood of our economy and when small businesses grow and become successful, the entire region benefits. Everybody wins: the business community, the consumer and the region. The SBDC was set up to achieve that objective. Let us help you take your business to the next level.

Whether you have an existing business that needs help or are thinking of starting a new business, we’re here to help. We encourage you to contact us today to meet with one of our advisors. Your success is our success!