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News: Free online help available for businesses hit by COVID-19

News: Free online help available for businesses hit by COVID-19

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Free online help, along with business counseling and coaching, are available for businesses and individuals hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic on Roane State Community College’s Workforce Development webpage.

Assistance includes free business coaching and counseling to small businesses wanting to learn about disaster loan options and other resources available to them.

Loans and grants are included in the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, also known as the CARES Act, the initial $2.2 trillion response to help offset economic turmoil as stores were closed, employees were laid off and citizens were ordered to stay home to help curb the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

The Tennessee Small Business Development Center (TSBDC) at Roane State Community College provides free and confidential counseling and training to small businesses. TSBDC is in part funded by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), and counselors are in daily contact with SBA to learn about opportunities for disaster relief. TSBDC assists both pre-venture and existing businesses by email, phone, and video conferencing. Visit or for more information.

Business coaching is available from the Roane State Community College Cumberland Business Incubator (CBI). Confidential business coaching is provided free of charge to small businesses.

The CBI Licensed Business Coach is available to provide phone coaching sessions or coaching sessions via Zoom. The CBI serves entrepreneurs just beginning a business as well as established businesses throughout their growth cycle all the way to preparing for the sale of the business and transition to new ownerships. Call (931) 456-4910 or email to make an appointment to talk about your business.

Courses available on the Workforce Development webpage include training in areas from writing grants to obtaining certifications in accounting.

In the Ed2go online career training sessions, teams of professionals teach skills vital for landing jobs in several in-demand occupations, from healthcare to plumbing, information technology to business.

Continuing education courses are also available and feature expert instructors offering tips in developing personal and professional skills needed by job seekers.

Expanded online offerings are now available at Roane State, said Kim Harris, the college’s director of workforce training and placement. “These fast, easy and affordable career focused courses are self-paced,” Harris said. Courses are non-credit and include areas such as construction, grant writing, accounting and many others. For more information, visit the Workforce website.

Jutta Bangs is the director and senior business specialist at the Tennessee Small Business Development Center. Her email address: Holly Hanson is director of the Cumberland Business Incubator. Her email:

Roane State is a two-year college providing transfer programs, career-preparation programs and continuing education. Founded in 1971, the college has locations in Roane, Campbell, Cumberland, Fentress, Knox, Loudon, Morgan, and Scott counties as well as a branch campus in Oak Ridge. For more information, visit

Remember, eligible adults can now attend Roane State tuition-free with the new Reconnect grant. Learn more at

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