UC Merced Names Regional Director of Small Business Development Network

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: http://sbdc.ucmerced.eduor http://www.sba.gov/

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