Gulf Coast Business Resource Center opens in Gulfport

A program setting up shop in Gulfport is helping make a push to grow those job numbers while creating new small businesses on the Coast.
Updated: May. 20, 2021 at 5:52 PM CDT

GULFPORT, Miss. (WLOX) - A ribbon cutting ceremony on Thursday for the Gulf Coast Business Resource Center served as a symbolic opening of the door for those with dreams of developing or expanding a small business.

“It makes it easy for small businesses and startups to find the resources that meet their needs,” said Sharon Nichols, State Director for the Mississippi Small Business Development Center.

Hands on resources are now being provided on the Coast by the Mississippi Small Business Development Center. State Director Sharon Nichols said her organization is designed to address the concerns of small business developers.

“If they meet with a mentor or resources like us, they have five times more of a chance to stay in business,” said Nichols.

The Gulf Coast Business Resource Center is headquartered on the 8th floor of the old Hancock Bank Building. From this location in downtown Gulfport, Mitchell McDowell will lead a team of counselors, who at no charge can provide business insight from everything to government contracts to exporting.

“The whole idea is that you can go to one place and get everything you need,” McDowell said. “You don’t have to go one place for help with a business plan, or another place for business with the federal government. Everything will be right there.”

According to the the Office of Advocacy of the U.S. Small Business Administration, 46% percent of all employees in Mississippi work for small businesses and McDowell believes those small businesses are the backbone of a successful and growing economy.

“We like to say we create the equivalent of a Nissan Plant every two years,” said McDowell.

Before a business gets off the ground, it starts with an idea and those ideas can be fostered by the Small Business Development Center.

“Where am I doing to be located, online or am I geographically based and then from there we figure out is there really a need for what I’m trying to do whether that’s selling a product or providing a service, then from there you put your business model together,” McDowell said.

For more information on how you get get help putting your small business plan into action, click here.

According to McDowell it usually takes less than 36 hours for counselors to get back with developers requesting assistance.

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