Small Business Development Center experiencing growth during industrial boom – Port Arthur News

Small Business Development Center experiencing growth during industrial boom

Published 12:30 am Friday, March 24, 2023

The Lamar State College Port Arthur Small Business Development Center is experiencing a surge for services as a number of announced industrial projects in Southeast Texas are creating a desire for locally owned businesses.

SBDC Director Dana Espinal said recent news has brought forth several new clients looking to enter into construction and other services that would assist an industrial boom.

This week, Sempra Infrastructure announced it is moving forward with Phase One of the Port Arthur LNG project, and earlier this month officials broke ground on an $8.5 billion Golden Triangle Polymers Company plant in Orange.

From left: Dana Espinal, director of the Lamar State College Port Arthur Small Business Development Center, and Pat Avery, CEO of the Greater Port Arthur Chamber of Commerce, celebrating America’s Small Business Development Day in 2022. (Monique Batson/The News)

And the SBDC is serving both counties to ensure local entrepreneurs can be involved and thrive.

“They are the backbone of our economy,” Espinal said. “Small businesses are the economic engines of the local communities.”

The SBDC provides support for business owners. The center also offers a variety of classes such as SBDC orientation, QuickBooks training, tax preparation, insurance types, developing a business plan, management/human resources and customer service.

And in May, it will recognize 17 locally-owned businesses during the 2023 Small Business Awards Banquet.

This year’s theme is “Reimagining Main Street.”

“I feel like we’re in line with what they’re doing across the country in bringing back that small town feel, that destination location, to ‘main street,’ if you will,” Espinal said. “I’m excited about this year’s awards banquet. It’s always good to see everyone come together to honor and recognize these small businesses.”

The first banquet was held in 2012. Following a lull during the pandemic, the banquet returned in person last year.

“The focus of the small business awards is to recognize the hard work, the deductions and the sacrifices small businesses have made and contributed to our communities,” Espinal said. “Of course we’re there to help small businesses start, grow and succeed. We want to be the first-choice service provider to any small business to help them through that — whether they are starting a business, growing a business or looking at succession planning.”

This year’s banquet is May 2 at The Pompano Club in Port Neches.

Social honor will begin at 5:30 pm, dinner at 6:15 pm and award presentations at 7 pm

Individual tickets are $30 and will not be sold at the door. To purchase prior to April 20, call 409-984-6531.