With the recent addition of technology commercialization specialist Allen Jones, the South Carolina Small Business Development Centers (SC SBDC) has expanded its capability and reach to help entrepreneurs bring new technology and products to market.
Jones, who is based in the Spartanburg Area Center, is the second technology commercialization specialist to be hired by the SBDC this year, joining Jim Wasson who was hired in January to work from the Charleston office. Both consultants are able to assist anyone in the state, but their presence in both the northern and coastal areas helps the SBDC serve all parts of the state.
“There is a great deal of entrepreneurial activity in South Carolina geared toward innovation and commercializing new technologies,” SBDC state director Michele Abraham said. “This has become even more evident in the last few years with expansion of the aerospace and automotive industries here. The SC SBDC can play a unique role in helping small businesses bring new products and services to market.”
Since joining the SBDC in 2015, Allen and Jim have served 108 clients, helping them start 11 new businesses, create 52 new jobs, secure over $1.4 million in financing and grants. They have developed leading edge seminars to help clients understand the market, build credible business plans and growth strategies, and learn how to successfully pursue funding opportunities through traditional and non-traditional channels as well as SBIR (Small Business Innovative Research) grants.
“We have made significant progress with assisting private businesses and entrepreneurs associated with our universities since hiring a technology commercialization specialist in the Lowcountry,” Abraham said. “Allen provides equally impressive credentials and experience to the SC SBDC and our clients. He rounds out our coverage by providing these specialized services to entrepreneurs in the Upstate down to the Midlands.”
Jones has experience working with SBDC clients through his previous position with the Pennsylvania SBDC and the University of Pittsburgh.
“I enjoyed the work,” he said. “I enjoy the constantly changing technology you work with and it pushes you to learn new things.”
Jones is the principal at Williams-Jones, where he has helped small and emerging businesses preparing for entry into new markets. Much of his work focuses on European Union companies who want to enter U.S. markets. He also has been the director of procurement services at DMGS LLC with responsibility for identifying funding opportunities for research and development or the sale of goods and services in the federal market.
Jones sees his role as developing a long-term relationship with his clients. He estimates that it takes six to 18 months to bring a new technology to market, but the relationship should continue for years afterward as “clients go through many business stages with changing technology.”
Jones has identified the three most common needs that his clients have. “They must have an understanding of their market and how they meet a need of that market. The most difficult part is figuring out pricing of their product. And then, the question is how are you going to distribute your product,” he said.
To make an appointment with Jones, he can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 864.592.6351.