Need free biz help? The Small Business and Technology Development Center is here for you

The Small Business and Technology Development Center, located on the UNC Charlotte campus, provides free one-on-one, confidential business advising services for existing businesses that do up to $10 million in sales a year.

SBTDC has been part of the UNC system for 31 years with offices at each of the 15 campuses. They are funded through the university system, but also receive federal funding through the U.S. Small Business Administration.

SBTDC’s mission is to provide “knowledge, education and other supportive resources that enable existing small and mid-sized businesses, emerging entrepreneurs and local/state leaders to innovate and succeed.”

“Anything to help small businesses do better,” Business Counselor Robin McIntire said. “That’s really what we are aiming to do.”

Photo 2 Credit UNC Charlotte
SBTDC stats:

– 745 clients served in 2015 in eight counties

– 85-90% of the businesses served are existing businesses

– 10-15% of the businesses are later start-ups – they have a written business plan and ready to sell products and services in 3-6 months

Most business owners come to the SBTDC with good problems, like what will happen if they double their sales or how to expand a product line. A smaller percentage need help with surviving after losing a big account or how to handle a new product that does not take off.

Depending on the type of help needed, one of the seven counselors is assigned to the business based on their expertise in government procurement, export sales, technology or general business.

The owners of The TIN Kitchen, a Charlotte-based food truck, catering and bar company with an innovative menu, went to SBTDC. The counselor helped Nikolaus Lischerong and David Stuck analyze their day-to-day operations and reassess how their time was being spent.

Photo 3 Credit Finch and Farrow
Photo 4 Credit Finch and Farrow

Tony Rodono with City Prints, a family-run company that makes fine art map prints of college campuses, world cities and sports stadiums, didn’t know a lot about SBTDC before meeting with one of their counselors.

Photo 5 Credit City Prints
Photo 6 Credit City Prints

The process to apply for free business counseling is simple: Complete an online form and a counselor will setup an appointment.

Stats from George McAllister, Regional Center Director at SBTDC.

Photos: UNC Charlotte; Finch and Farrow; City Prints