Entrepreneurs in the Upper Cumberland will have a place to go for free help with marketing and technology at Tennessee Tech University, beginning Tuesday, Nov. 1.
TTU's College of Business and the Tennessee Small Business Development Center are partnering to launch TECH-etc., pronounced "tek' set-er-uh," TTU's new Entrepreneur Technology Center.
At TECH-etc., entrepreneurs will receive free help with online and print marketing, including branding, basic logo and website creation, building Facebook pages and YouTube channels, designing business cards and brochures, and more.
"With more businesses existing online, having a website gives you the look of being established," Ben Burchfield, TTU's distance MBA production manager, said. "The Internet has flattened the competitive environment. Whether you exist in Cookeville, Tenn., or Shanghai, China, you can be competitive on a global level."
The center will be open from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. every Tuesday in Johnson Hall 420 on TTU's campus, manned by a volunteer network of TSBDC and College of Business staff, as well as MBA students.
Entrepreneurs who have been operating a business for at least six months will be able to sign up for an hour and a half time slot. Four appointment slots will be available at both 4:30 and 6 p.m.
On Tuesday, Nov. 1, appointments will be available for 48 entrepreneurs to sign up for 30-minute introductory sessions. During the initial session, center volunteers will help to develop a personalized plan for each entrepreneur. After the first session, entrepreneurs will be able to schedule repeat sessions to complete their goals.
"Our goal is to raise confidence with online marketing and technology so that entrepreneurs are comfortable enough to use it," Jen Dangelo, director of the TSBDC Online Center, said. "We want to be a launching pad, and we won't kick anyone out of the nest until they are ready to fly."
The center is supported in part by a Tennessee Valley Authority grant targeting women- and minority-owned businesses. Those businesses will be given scheduling preference on the third Tuesday of every month.
Appointments for general business counseling with Vicki Henley, director of TSBDC at TTU, are available by request on the second and fourth Tuesday evening of each month, in addition to daytime appointments. All TSBDC counseling is free of charge and confidential.
To schedule an appointment, call 931-372-3706, or visit www.techetc.org.