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State Small Business Center Recognizes GRCC Advisors

Deanna Burnett-Keener and Kirk Davis were named to the Washington Small Business Development Center's Million Dollar Club at its April meeting.

Deanna Burnett-Keener and Kirk Davis, advisors with the Green River Community College Small Business Assistance Center (SBAC), were recognized by the Washington Small Business Development Center for their work in supporting the region's small business owners, according to a college press release Wednesday.

Burnett-Keener’s clients received $3.2 million in debt and equity funding and created or saved more than 30 jobs in 2011. Her 10 year total for small business clients now stands at almost $70 million in new capital. Davis’s clients received more than $3.6 million in new capital, bringing his seven year total to $13.7 million.

In Enumclaw, small business owners Aaron Brenner, owner of , and Lauren Hardman, owner of , spoke with Patch last year about how they've benefitted from Burnett-Keener’s assistance.

Brenner, who first approached SBAC in Auburn at age 20 with no collateral but a passion to start his own bakery business, said, "Deanna makes herself available. I love that center. I love what it does. My business wouldn't be here without the center. They helped me get off the ground."

Hardman found the SBAC service online and said it made a big difference for someone without a business background. She had been seeing Burnett-Keener since September 2003 when her business started. "I can build houses until the cows come home but that didn't mean I knew how to run a business. ... Deanna has been wonderful and the services have been wonderful."

Though there is no longer a permanent SBAC office on the Enumclaw campus and clients are asked to drive to the main campus in Auburn (), Hardman said, "It's definitely an inconvenience not having it here, but I will continue to go and see her. The relationship is that important to me."

Brett Rogers, State Director for the Washington SBDC wrote in a statement, “In these difficult economic times, I know all of us in higher education and state government need to be very mindful of how we spend our resources. I just wanted to let you know that your investment in the work of Deanna and Kirk and the Washington SBDC is paying incredible dividends and making a positive impact on small businesses and your community.”

Green River’s Small Business Assistance Center operates in Auburn, Kent and Enumclaw. Advisors help clients secure funding to start, acquire or grow their businesses. Throughout the state, 14 advisors exceeded the $1 million new capital mark for 2011. The Washington SBDC’s 26 advisors met with over 2,800 clients in 2011, helping them access more than $31 in debt and equity funding and saving more than 800 jobs.

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