The small business development center at MSU-Meridian has a new counselor in charge.
Karen Kimberl was hired in November 2018, but started the job earlier this month. She takes over for Dustin Odom, who left the position to complete his doctorate.
The Mississippi State University Small Business Development Center in Starkville was established in 1981 to assist small business owners and entrepreneurs. The SBDC aims to help existing business owners be more economically viable and assist entrepreneurs in starting businesses that are competitive in the marketplace, according to the MSU website.
Kimberl said she became aware of the position in Meridian after speaking at a conference. Charles “Chip” Templeton, the director of the SBDC in Starkville, approached her and encouraged her to apply.
"Kimberl's background and business knowledge made her a good fit for the job," Templeton said.
William Hill, head of MSU-Meridian's Business Division, said having someone with connections to the community was one trait they were looking for.
“We feel blessed to have her,” Hill said.
Kimberl, who has more than 25 years of business experience, says she can relate to people starting a business because she has been in their shoes.
“If I can educate them, it makes me happy,” she said.
Since coming to MSU-Meridian, Kimberl has been holding workshops and counseling sessions for new business owners. The workshops, which are free and open to the public, focus on topics such as developing a business plan and cash flow.
She also wants to develop relationships with her clients beyond the counseling sessions, encouraging them to call her if they need assistance.
Looking ahead, Kimberl hopes to see more people participate in the workshops, and see more small businesses started in Meridian. She'd also like the community to support small businesses.
Her main goal, Kimberl said, is to let entrepreneurs know they aren't alone when it comes to starting their own companies.
“I think I found my dream job because I enjoy helping people,” she said.
For more information on upcoming workshops in February and March go to www.meridian.msstate.edu/events. To register, go to www.mssbdc.org and click on workshops.
Story by Bianca Moorman, The Meridian Star