It is well known that the COVID-19 pandemic had a significant negative impact on hundreds of businesses, causing some of them to close their doors or reduce staff.

But it's also true that when it comes to business, both newcomers and those who have been operating for decades both need guidance on how to endure difficult circumstances and even turn crises into opportunities, starting from the saying, "What does not kill you, makes you stronger."

Even though they have only been in operation for a short period, the three business development centers that assist companies in south San Diego County have only been successful because they adhered to this business philosophy. Examples of these centers include:

The San Diego's Women & Imperial Business Center (WBC) of Business for Women was nationally awarded the recognition "Women's Business Center of Excellence Award" and its director Katty Ibarra, who was nominated by Daniel Fitzgerald, director of the San Diego SBDC Network.

It's also important to note that the "Small Business Development Center Excellence and Innovation Award" went to Daniel Fitzgerald and the center he oversees, The San Diego and Imperial Small Business Development Center Network, or SBDC for short, also known as the Network of the Small Business Development Center, Christine Perri, who was nominated by the Dean from the Southwestern College Higher Education Center in National City.

And it is that work, which is done by both educational institutions, that provides business education and guidance to business owners and community members who operate at the facilities at Southwestern College (the Center for Business Advancement of the National City Higher Education Center was honored at the recent National Small Business Week), which ended this past Saturday, May 6.

Katty Ibarra was announced as the program's first (and only) female director during a press conference, and it was stated that she "has created the program so that she can be a leader in helping women entrepreneurs to start businesses." To boost your self-assurance and entrepreneurial mindset, and in particular, to assist Hispanic non-speaking mothers in starting and expanding their home-based child care companies.

It was also notable that over the previous three years, WBC aided 3,138 firms through training and counseling, supported 160 new businesses, and helped 294 businesses obtain funding to expand their operations.

Regarding Daniel Fitzgerald, he has assisted small business owners with "hundreds of training sessions and tens of thousands of hours of personalized business advice, as you start your businesses, develop marketing strategies, and support the generation of new sources of employment," since he has been the Regional Director of SBCD since 2020.

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