Albany SBDC Offers GrowSmart Program for Area Business Leaders

Barbara Kieker

Thursday, February 21st, 2013

From March 7 to April 19, the University of Georgia Small Business Development Center (SBDC) in Albany will offer GrowSmart, a program for business owners and senior managers that provides tools and strategies to meet the needs of growing businesses.  It's the third year that the Albany SBDC has offered GrowSmart.

GrowSmart is the SBDC's leading program for growing businesses.  It is designed to help business owners answer questions such as how well is your business operating, what is your growth strategy for 2013 and how will your business get from where it is now to where you want it to be.  The program runs on seven consecutive Thursdays for either full-day or half-day sessions.  According to Finney, GrowSmart is directed by a professional facilitator and uses the most up-to-date materials and ideas for business analysis and management. 

"We bring in outside experts to speak as well.  The program is very interactive with lots of peer-to-peer learning," said Debbie Finney, head of the Albany SBDC office. 

GrowSmart is open to business leaders of companies from at least two years of operation to over 50 years of operation, annual revenues of $300,000 or more, and at least one non-owner employee.  OneGeorgia Authority, a state economic development agency, subsidizes $500 of the program's $895 tuition.  Participants pay $395 and Chamber members receive an additional $100 discount.

What GrowSmart Graduates Had to Say

According to Finney, the GrowSmart program has received good feedback from participants.  Here is a sampling of what three recent graduates had to say.

"The GrowSmart program gave me the knowledge and tools I needed to develop and implement systems in 2012 that have led to a record year in growth and revenue." 

Vince Dettore
Vice President, Marketing and Business Operations
Drawdy Roofing &Vinyl Siding
ASM Sheet Metal Inc.

"The GrowSmart program provides the information and the tools to dissect our business and examine all phases of our operations. The program also allows us to interact with fellow business owners to provide a sounding board and resource that proves to be invaluable."

Gary F. Nevins
President and CEO
Plantation Publishing Co.

"Interacting and exchanging ideas with other business owners not only provided me with external insight on my business practices, but also provided excellent opportunities to create and establish valuable contacts within the business community." 

Tammy McCrary
ComNet Technical Solutions, Inc.

Many GrowSmart participants maintain ongoing relationships with the SBDC.  SBDC professionals can provide confidential one-on-one consulting to business leaders at no charge.

"We will stay involved with a business for as long as the business leader likes," Finney said.

More information on the SBDC GrowSmart program is available at

About Barbara Kieker

Barbara Kieker is a freelance writer who writes on business-related topics for a number of web-based properties. She also provides communications services to Fortune 500 corporations, small businesses and nonprofit organizations.