FMU's Donald E. Kelley Small Business Institute seeks to help local businesses
Francis Marion University is on a mission to help small-business owners in the Pee Dee area succeed. Part of FMU’s School of Business since 1972, the charge of the Donald E. Kelley Small Business Institute is to teach and support entrepreneurship and innovation in the academic, business and nonprofit communities, at no cost.
“We give people a place to turn to and we give them some hope for their dreams through proven performance,” said Joe Aniello, director of the Donald E. Kelley Small Business Institute and FMU management professor. “We take their business ideas and provide structure.”
The institute creates comprehensive business plans for its clients, who can then approach various financial sources with the information required for procuring funding. The business plans are developed by student work teams.
If a business plan is not needed, the institute can also offer an intern to help with various management functions for five hours per week over the course of a semester through its internship program.
The Small Business Institute also serves as a clearing house for clients who need specific research, marketing, technology, or accounting help, by directing them to other FMU professors who may have class projects to address those specific needs. The institute brings together the teaching and research activities of faculty across several disciplines into a more effective, concentrated initiative with strong ties to the business community.
An outstanding entrepreneurship curriculum taught by an excellent faculty has earned the academic program its reputation as one of the best in the state. Nearly four years ago, Aniello was tapped to head the institute. The Nashville, Tenn. native earned the B.S. degree in marketing from Fairfield University, the M.B.A. degree in marketing from Fordham University, and the Ph.D. degree in human resource development from Vanderbilt University.
Though the institute is responsible for developing business plans and assisting a countless number of local businesses in nine counties, the challenge for it has been getting people to come in and ask for help.
“We want local people to approach us and take advantage of our services,” said Aniello. “Our hope is that maybe some of these businesses will create jobs for people.”
For more information, call 843-661-1112.
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