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UC Merced Names Regional Director of Small Business Development Network

May 23, 2007

FRESNO - University of California, Merced, recently named Lyle
Wright as director of its Small Business Development Center (SBDC)
Regional Network.

“Since 2003, the UC Merced SBDC Regional Network has helped
establish 208 business start ups, created more than 1,700 jobs and
helped secure nearly 500 loans amounting to $75 million,” said UC
Merced Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost Keith Alley. “Lyle has
the ideal combination of experience and enthusiasm to help UC
Merced expand services to small businesses, which will have a
positive impact on Central California’s economy.”

The SBDC Program is funded in part through a Cooperative
Agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). The
program is implemented nationwide for the purpose of assisting
potential and existing small business owners.

Through staff members at its five service centers and two
satellite centers, the UC Merced SBDC Regional Network, provides
information, counseling and training programs to small business
owners with the aim of promoting small business growth and economic
development within a 15-county region that includes the San Joaquin
Valley and Central Coast communities. As regional director, Wright
provides administrative oversight and leadership to the network. He
is based at the network’s lead office, which is located at the UC
Merced Center in Fresno.

Reaching out to more small business owners is one of Wright’s
goals for the network. He plans to accomplish this by building
better awareness of the SBDC program and leveraging existing
program strengths and accomplishments.

“Small business drives the regional economy,” Wright said. “Our
goal is to help small businesses start and grow, thus providing
jobs and future opportunities for economic growth.”

“Our counseling services are offered free of charge to new and
existing small businesses,” said Wright. “We work directly with our
clients to help them become better owner/operators and in many
cases, we enable them to realize their entrepreneurial dreams,”
added Wright.

No stranger to the San Joaquin Valley, Wright previously lived
in Fresno during the late 1980s as a manager with FMC Corp., a
leading worldwide chemical company. Wright also ran his own small
business consulting firm and spent time in Indonesia working for
international mining-industry leader Freeport-McMoRan Copper &
Gold, Inc. He joined the SBDC program at Missouri State University
in 1998 where he started a new SBDC satellite center in West
Plains, MO, that served a seven-county region in the Ozarks. While
at Missouri State, he also served as a per course faculty member
teaching courses in entrepreneurship, marketing, retailing and
international business.

Wright graduated from the University of Illinois with a
bachelor’s in chemical engineering. He earned a master’s of
management from Northwestern University.

The UC Merced SBDC Regional Network delivers up-to-date
counseling, training and technical assistance in all aspects of
small business management. SBDC services include, but are not
limited to, assisting small businesses with financial, marketing,
production, organization, engineering and technical problems and
feasibility studies. Special SBDC programs and economic development
activities include international trade assistance, procurement
assistance, venture capital formation and rural development.

The UC Merced SBDC Regional Network includes: Alliance SBDC in
Merced and Modesto; Central California SBDC in Fresno and Visalia;
Cuesta College SBDC in San Luis Obispo; Hartnell College SBDC in
Salinas and the Weill Institute SBDC in Bakersfield.

The UC Merced SBDC also makes special efforts to reach minority
members of socially and economically disadvantaged groups,
veterans, women and the disabled.

The UC Merced SBDC Regional Network provided business services
with $1.1 million in federal funds from the SBA in 2006 alone, plus
another $1.1 million in matching funds from the state, specifically
the Community College Chancellor’s Office, as well as community and
private funds.

For more information, please call (559) 241-6590 or visit: