A new Hillsborough County initiative helps start-up companies

Hillsborough County’s Small Business Development Center (SBDC) is helping individuals develop the skills they need to establish their own businesses and become successful entrepreneurs.

It’s still possible to sign up for the county’s self-employment training, which helps budding entrepreneurs learn how to operate their own businesses. In the spring of 2013, Stephanie Matthews was one of the program’s inaugural students, launching her notary firm, Keep It Simple Signings.

“I saw that there was a lot of demand for my services. Many individuals were refinancing, and the mortgage industry required people who were sure of themselves “Matthäus was the one to say it.

But she didn’t begin her career as a notary public on a full-time basis.

“When I was working at a full-service hair salon, I was looking for something to give my customers. So I decided to become a notary public so that I could serve as a one-stop shop for all legal requirements “she said.

Until the epidemic struck, Matthews managed a hair business in Tampa, Florida. She enrolled in the three-month course since she had no idea how she was going to get by.

“So, we begin by introducing them to the entrepreneurial mentality and teaching them how to think like an entrepreneur. After all, most people only see the flowers and glory of business, right? But they don’t realize the amount of effort that goes into making it happen, “Carol Minor, the director of the Small Business Development Center in Hillsborough County, Florida, agreed. “We discuss the corporate strategy. Learn about accounting with this class! As part of our curriculum, we teach them about marketing, so they know that not everyone is in your target market, and they also know how to find them.”

Minor said that the county began the initiative to assist persons who had been either jobless or underemployed as a result of the outbreak.

“A company owner like Stephanie is doing very well if they come in and do the same. If they come in and study this information and decide that it’s not for them, they’ve done well.  Regardless, it teaches them what it takes to be a great entrepreneur,” Minor stated.

Matthews received her diploma in June of last year and has it on display at her Nebraska Avenue office. She graduated. She observes a change a year after taking her first lesson.

Previously, Matthews had been signing five to seven books a day. Now, he signs 10 to 20 books a day. Over the course of the next five years, “I’m all in, and I have a strategy to expand myself into an enterprise that will hopefully not just be here, but also in other sections of the city.”

There will be no face-to-face classes in March. A hybrid online and in-person session is expected to be offered this autumn, according to Minor.

Brett Sartorial

Brett is a business journalist with a focus on corporate strategy and leadership. With over 15 years of experience covering the corporate world, Brett has a reputation for being a knowledgeable, analytical and insightful journalist. He has a deep understanding of the business strategies and leadership principles that drive the world's most successful companies, and is able to explain them in a clear and compelling way. Throughout his career, Brett has interviewed some of the most influential business leaders and has covered major business events such as the World Economic Forum and the Davos. He is also a regular contributor to leading business publications and has won several awards for his work.