February 29, 2012

For more information, contact: Ruby Riesinger, SBDC Area Director

Guardian Bank and Valdosta SBDC Partner for Valdosta Area Small Businesses

VALDOSTA -- The Valdosta State University Langdale College of Business Administration’s Small Business Development Center is pleased to announce a new partnership with Guardian Bank in support of Valdosta area small businesses. Guardian Bank has pledged sponsorship of $15,000 for 2012 to the Valdosta SBDC to fund several training programs specifically targeted for small businesses.

Due to the generous sponsorship, the Valdosta SBDC will be offering two Maximum Impact Series classes: Maximum Marketing and Maximum Money. They will both be taught from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Valdosta Country Club starting in late March and early May, respectively. The cost has been minimized to $35 per business, based on the Guardian Bank sponsorship. Lunch will be provided during each of the five sessions.

Both of the Maximum Impact Series programs will prepare selected area Valdosta businesses for a five-week, 35-hour GrowSmart Business Program scheduled to be held this fall. The GrowSmart Program is specifically designed for leaders of companies with at least two years of successful operation with annual revenues of $200,000 or more and the opportunity and desire to grow their business. While Guardian Bank has long been champion of area start-ups with the annual Business Plan Competition, all three of these programs are structured for existing area companies that are gearing up for growth.

The award-winning GrowSmart Program would normally cost a business $895 per participant; however, Guardian Bank’s sponsorship allows for area businesses to enjoy a $600 per participant scholarship, reducing the total cost for businesses to enroll at only $295 per participant. Breakfast and lunch will be provided and the program will cover the full range of business skills that business owners need to work on their businesses instead of just in them.

When asked about how they benefit from taking the program, previous graduates raved. “It made me slow down and look at where my business is and where I want to take it, while giving me the confidence to ask questions of my peers and network more,” said Amanda Maxwell, Marketing Communications, Inc. Talk 92.1’s Scott James remarked, “The experience has and will be one of the most useful tools in my business growth. I will always consider these 10 weeks as a 4th mentor in my personal growth as a leader and business owner.”

Guardian Bank will begin hosting CEO Roundtables with GrowSmart graduates within a month of the GrowSmart graduation. This forum allows business owners to network with fellow graduates as they continue to learn and apply their new business acumen to the real world, elevating their chances for business success and growth.

As all three of these growth encouraging programs are limited to one business per industry, to prevent direct competition and promote free discussion within the classroom, applications to participate will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis. Recruitment for the classes will be targeted towards business leaders with at least two years of successful operation, annual revenues of $200,000 or more, and who have both opportunity and desire to grow their business. To apply, or for more information, please contact the Valdosta State University SBDC at (229) 245-3738 or email Ruby Riesinger, area director at rriesinger@georgiasbdc.org or rcriesin@valdosta.edu.

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