Eugene, OR (PRWEB) January 23, 2013
Thanks to an innovative partnership between the public and private sector, Oregon small businesses can now take advantage of new online e-learning tools and development opportunities through their local Small Business Development Center (SBDC) office. Many of these valuable resources are free of charge for businesses that engage with a local SBDC advisor. The anticipated result will be a measurable increase in business confidence, growth, and job creation throughout the state of Oregon.
These valuable new resources result from a unique partnership between the Oregon Small Business Development Center Network (OSBDCN), Palo Alto Software, the world’s leader in business planning software, and the Oregon Public Utility Commission. The partnership also enabled OSBDCN to launch the Technology Impact Program (TIP) in 2012, which is now available at SBDCs statewide.
The goal of TIP is to help Oregon’s small businesses effectively utilize technology in their growth and prosperity. TIP provides online training in social media, search engine optimization (SEO), customer relations management, government contracting, business planning, and other areas of interest to small businesses. With free no-commitment access to LivePlan, Palo Alto Software’s premier online business and management planning tool, TIP ensures that businesses can map a successful path and pitch to potential investors.
“Palo Alto Software has significantly enhanced our efforts in helping SBDC clients utilize state-of-the-art technologies to improve their business practices,” stated Michael Lainoff, State Director of the Oregon Small Business Development Center Network.
“It has always been our mission to help small businesses succeed,” stated Sabrina Parsons, CEO of Palo Alto Software. “To support that goal, we are proud to offer LivePlan for every Oregon SBDC client. LivePlan’s collaboration features enhance the advising relationship beyond initial face-to-face meetings by inviting their advisor into their online LivePlan account to post comments and monitor their progress. The development of new and innovative courseware only further extends our commitment to the success of small businesses.”
Technology has the power to close the distance between economic and geographic disparities. The state of Oregon presents a tremendous variety of population density, industry sectors, and technologies. The TIP program makes these e-learning tools and content accessible and thus increases equality across regions. All tools in TIP are available to anyone, regardless of geography or industry. For example, an agri-tech innovator in the Dalles, a home-based food startup in Coos Bay, and an apparel company in Portland now all have equal access to high-caliber training programs and advising services online to help them launch or grow their business.
The success of TIP will grow as more businesses engage their local SBDC offices. A stellar example of how these tools are helping small businesses succeed is in North Bend, Oregon. Arlene Soto, the director of the Southwestern Oregon Community College SBDC, has enrolled over 60 new businesses utilizing this program, and is adding up to four new businesses per week. Soto recently won Palo Alto Software’s inaugural “Entrepreneur Champion of the Year” award. Only one SBDC advisor out of the entire nation can win this award each year, and Arlene Soto easily emerged as the frontrunner for this award mainly due to her success with the TIP initiative.
“The result I’ve seen utilizing this program is that many of these business owners find it easier to get funding and operate successful businesses,“ stated Soto. “Those who participate in the program find LivePlan easy to use and really appreciate the added assistance we can give them by reviewing their business plans and providing feedback. Up until now, we have not been able to provide services of this level to small businesses – particularly those located in rural areas.”
Other states or U.S. regions interested in implementing a similar distance learning program to help their small businesses succeed should contact Peter Thorsson at Palo Alto Software: 1-888-498-6136
About the OSBDCN
The OSBDCN is a well-established partnership among 17 community colleges, two state universities, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), and the Oregon Business Development Department (OBDD). Since its inception in 1983, the OSBDCN has provided one-on-one advising to more than 150,000 current and prospective businesses throughout Oregon. More than 560,000 individuals have attended OSBDCN-sponsored business education classes and events. For more information about the OSBDCN, visit http://www.bizcenter.org
About Palo Alto Software, Inc.
Palo Alto Software, Inc., makers of the #1 selling business planning software in the world, develops and publishes tools, products, and content to help small and midsized businesses plan, pitch and manage their venture. LivePlan, the company's flagship product, is a SaaS (software as a service) solution for business planning and management. Palo Alto Software has been the market leader in its category for over fifteen years, has served well over 1 million entrepreneurs, and has customers in 180 countries. Founded in 1988 by business planning expert Tim Berry, the company is a privately-owned corporation based in Eugene, Oregon. For more information about Palo Alto Software, visit http://www.paloalto.com
OSBDCN Media Contact:
Michael Lainoff, State Director
Oregon Small Business Development Center Network
99 W. 10th Ave., Ste. 390
Eugene OR 97401
Palo Alto Software Media Contact:
Caroline Cummings, VP of Marketing