The University of Georgia Small Business Development Center recently participated in the 2016 Best Places to Work in Georgia evaluation. Survey responses to the question, “What does this organization do that makes it a place where people would want to work?” emphasized the importance of our customer: Georgia’s small business owners and entrepreneurs.
One response to this question read: “Employees are empowered to do what they feel will make the most impact for clients and for their own professional development.” Another stated: “This organization helps people help themselves by teaching entrepreneurs how to be more successful and to make more money by making improvements to their business or by helping them solve problems…”
Because the heart of our mission is to help others, the business consultants and other SBDC employees find job satisfaction through others’ success. This sentiment, along with other strong scores, earned the UGA SBDC recognition by Georgia Trend Magazine as one of the 2016 “Best Places to Work in Georgia.” The evaluation process was managed by the Best Companies Group in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania and analyzes organizations based on criteria that includes employee’s views on leadership and planning, corporate culture and communications, role satisfaction, work environment, and overall engagement.
Small business is an important part of Georgia’s economy, and the SBDC is one of UGA’s most significant resources for helping entrepreneurs acquire the knowledge and skills they need to help maximize their chances for success. “Typical of UGA’s outreach programs, SBDC staff are recognized statewide for their expertise and responsiveness to local needs,” said Jennifer Frum, vice president for UGA Public Service and Outreach, which oversees the SBDC. “It isn’t surprising that this UGA unit was named a great place to work. UGA’s strong commitment to outreach has helped build an environment for success.”
SBDC State Director Allan Adams commented on the SBDC’s “Best Places to Work” designation: “We are very fortunate to have an amazing statewide team. All of our staff are hired from the private sector and we help them become business educators. Our employees derive a great deal of satisfaction from helping others learn and seeing business owners succeed. We try to provide an environment with a clear mission, clear performance expectations and accountability. This kind of focused and productive environment is expected and appreciated by the professionals who make up our team.”
The SBDC program is hosted statewide by the University of Georgia, and 6 of its 17 offices are hosted by other units of the University System of Georgia – Georgia State University, Kennesaw State University, Georgia Southern University, Valdosta State University, Clayton State University and the University of West Georgia. Adams noted, “We could not reach all areas of the state without the partnership of these institutions. The commitment to outreach by these universities and the support of their business school deans is critical to our integration and effectiveness. We work as one team, regardless of whose payroll we are on.”
Perhaps this employee summed it up best: “We serve the public in a very real way that is very satisfying and makes you feel good about what you are doing. The employees here strive to make our contribution to society a very real experience and offer the best we can be…”