Resources, training for small businesses

The mission of the Small Business Administration is to aid, counsel, assist and promote the interests of small businesses by providing financial, procurement and business development assistance and advocating on their behalf within the government. Every month the SBA offers a multitude of trainings, webinars and resources for businesses; many of them free of charge.

Here’s a sampling of upcoming SBA educational opportunities:

1. Get Your Business Ready For Any Kind of Disaster with Free National Preparedness Month Webinar Series

Each year small businesses across the nation are forced to close their doors in the aftermath of severe storms, flooding, tornadoes, wildfires and hurricanes. Business interruptions, even if it lasts just a few hours, are costly in terms of lost productivity and profits. The SBA wants to help business owners take charge of the well-being of their own companies, the safety of their employees, and the sustenance of their local economies by being prepared to rebound quickly from any kind of disaster. You can get help with your own business preparedness planning through a series of free webinars in September hosted by the U.S. Small Business Administration, in collaboration with Agility Recovery and FEMA’s Ready Campaign. The following hour-long webinars will be presented at 2 p.m. EDT on Wednesdays in September:

* Sept. 11: Protecting Your Organization by Preparing Your Employees. Registration at

* Sept. 18: The NEW 10 Steps to Preparedness – Lessons from the Past. Registration at

* Sept. 25: Crisis Communications for any Organization. Registration at

2. SBA Partners with Microsoft to Deliver Technology e-Learning Series

The newest resource to help small business owners more efficiently use technology to run their businesses is being provided to help grow their businesses and create jobs. The Business Technology Simplified online course series teaches the benefits of using modern technology that can take businesses to the next level of success, increase sales, expand their customer base and even attract new business opportunities through exporting.

The U.S. Small Business Administration and Microsoft developed this free online course series, available at , as a guide to using technology to improve business productivity and creativity.

Business Technology Simplified covers a range of technology related areas that are of vital significance to small business owners who want to have a competitive edge that allows them to run a business more resourcefully. The series features three online courses that cover basic technology tools from creating marketing materials and storing information to accounting upgrades and reducing hardware.

Some of the topics covered in the series include:

* Desktop technology benefits

* Saving time using technology

* Using web-based services

* Reaching more customers by extending your business online

* Managing your sales pipeline

The course series is self-paced and offers practical guidance on how to apply technology to help small companies build and grow. Each course offers quick access and features audio guided lessons that are indexed by topic.

For more information about the SBA, visit

Visit this space every other Sunday for more Chamber news. We also invite you to call us at 304-422-3588, email us at, or stop by the Chamber office at 409 1/2 Market St. in Parkersburg.


Jill Parsons is president/CEO of the Chamber of Commerce of the Mid-Ohio Valley.