Zions Bank resource center has big impact on small business

Published: Tuesday, Nov. 19 2013 5:53 p.m. MST

Janell Brown, owner and cake decorator at One Sweet Slice, preps a red velvet cake for a customer on Tuesday, Nov. 19, 2013.

Matt Gade, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — Janell Brown knows something about baking. She is quite good at it.

In fact, she is so good that the West Jordan mother of four was the 2012 winner of Food Network’s “Cupcake Wars.”

Almost three years ago, she and her husband, Trent, decided to parlay her baking talents into a now-successful business venture. The couple — both 34 years old — are now co-owners of One Sweet Slice custom cake and cupcake shops located in South Jordan and Sandy.

While they have been able to make of go of entrepreneurship with no previous experience, Brown credits the help she received at the Zions Banks Business Resource Center for teaching her what is required to get a new business up and running.

“It was really helpful,” she said. “Just being able to talk with other people who have either started a business on their own or who help people get started. They know what to look for and know the types of questions to ask.”

Having access to such institutional knowledge and expertise was invaluable for their startup venture, she said.

On Wednesday, Zions Bank will celebrate the grand opening of the newly relocated Business Resource Center in downtown Salt Lake City at 120 S. Main.

In 2006, Zions Bank launched the center as a resource to provide free services to prospective entrepreneurs wanting to start a business. Since then, the center has aided more than 5,000 individuals with tools to help them create and launch new businesses or expand existing companies, explained director Beth Holbrook.

Of the clients served over seven years, the majority were startups, while others were existing companies in need of business plan development, she said.

The center offers a publications library, business plan templates, computer work stations and knowledgeable staff to assist clients in their business endeavors — all at no cost. Beyond the brick-and-mortar location, the online center, www.utahsmallbusiness.com, offers articles, worksheets and tips for those interested in starting a business.

Holbrook said budding entrepreneurs, including those with home-based businesses, can get started on their path to owning a business through a few steps.

“Have passion for your idea and make sure it will be competitive in your market. Build clientele even before you launch. Write a great business plan. Assemble a team of key advisors, including an accountant and lawyer. Explore funding from a variety of sources, including venture funding and Small Business Administration loans,” she explained.

The center also partners with organizations such as the Governor’s Office of Economic Development, the U.S. Small Business Administration, Salt Lake Community College and the Greater Sandy Area Chamber of Commerce to offer seminars, workshops and business-networking opportunities, she added.

Capital provided through Zions Bank’s Small Business Administration loans in 2013 helped Utah businesses grow enabling companies to hire 858 new employees and retain 1,732 positions, according to administration data. Zions Bank established the Business Resource Center as part of its ongoing commitment to local entrepreneurs, Holbrook said.

“We know that people who are chasing their dreams of owning their own businesses need resources and support to succeed,” she said. “We make it our business to help (them) with (their) business.”

Email: jlee@deseretnews.com

Twitter: JasenLee1

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