More investment needed in efforts to aid small business
INNOVATIVE APPROACH: Douglas Jobling, northern Rhode Island regional director of Rhode Island Small Business Development Center at Johnson & Wales University, says that small-business owners are key innovators driving economic development.
When the opportunity came up in 1983 to help establish the Rhode Island Small Business Development Center program at Bryant University, Douglas Jobling didn’t think twice.
Jobling had wanted a career in state and municipal government, concentrating in workforce training. His motivation came from realizing through his work that there needed to be a stronger relationship between a state’s educational and business communities and feeling the concept of offering free and lost-cost services to small-business owners through a university-based program could help bridge that gap.
He’s been with the center since then, overseeing its transition from Bryant University to Johnson & Wales University, and stepping down to concentrate on counseling businesses in northern Rhode Island.
Last month he was named the 2012 State Star of Rhode Island at the Association of Small Business Development Center’s annual conference in New Orleans. It was the second time Jobling was honored with this award. He first won the title in 2005.
PBN: You were the establishing state director of the RISBDC program in Rhode Island. What did it take to get the program going?
Jobling: There was a lot of enthusiasm in the small-business community and among the network [which was] so important to making a program like this successful. [There were] just a whole group of organizations and state agencies [helping] and there was so much enthusiasm that the biggest hurdle – and I don’t know if I can even call it a hurdle – was simply convincing the small-business community that a university program could provide capable assistance. That’s something I think we’ve definitely overcome.