The T. L. L. Temple Foundation recently approved a grant to Angelina College in the amount of $445,960 to expand staff capacity of the college’s Small Business Development Center to focus on North Lufkin. The grant, to be implemented over a three-year period, will fund start-up expenses, operating costs, as well as salaries and benefits for two new advisors. The advisors will office in the foundation’s North Lufkin resource building. Jobs and economic development were identified as priorities in the appreciative inquiry study of North Lufkin by Stephen F. Austin State University’s School of Social Work Center for Rural Work Research and Development.
Dr. Rosser, president and CEO of the foundation, explains, “We quickly recognized that improved support for small businesses aligns with the ‘do it ourselves’ values among North Lufkin residents.” Rosser continues, “Therefore this grant became one of our top priorities to improve the quality of life for our community. We believe small businesses are an important component of Lufkin’s future, and we want residents of Wards 1 and 2 to have the supports and resources necessary to participate in that economic future.”
The Angelina College Small Business Development Center (AC SBDC) has a record of success. For example, since October 2017, the AC SBDC has assisted in creating 54 new jobs, helped launch 6 new businesses, worked with 41 new clients, and helped obtain $9.8 million in start-up capital.
Small businesses are the engine of inclusive economic growth. Access to new education, support, and financing uniquely tailored to local small business needs will help create economic opportunity, quality jobs, and community-driven development. Although Small Business Administration loan volume nationally rose approximately 25% between 2009-2013, loans to African-American business owners declined 47%.
The start-up timeframe of this grant began earlier this year. Angelina College hopes to have the two new advisors in place before August 2018.