TUSCALOOSA, ALA. — Culverhouse College of Commerce’s Small Business advisor, Yolanda D. Johnson, received the “State Star” award from the Association of Small Business Development Centers in recognition of her contributions to serving Alabama’s small business community. The national association presented Johnson with the award in Nashville on Sept. 5, at the group’s annual conference.
The award is given annually to an outstanding business advisor from each state. Criteria include showing a strong commitment to small business success; making significant contributions to the state SBDC program; and being an exemplary performer.
The statewide Alabama Small Business Development Center (SBDC) Network is a business outreach service based at The University of Alabama’s Culverhouse College of Commerce and provides no-cost management and technical assistance to small businesses in all 67 counties. Johnson is based in Baldwin County where the SBDC partners with the University of South Alabama to provide assistance to businesses in six south Alabama counties.
Over the past two years, Johnson has worked with over 350 businesses and entrepreneurs in Baldwin County. She helped 36 new businesses start-up and worked with existing businesses to help them secure over $8.3 million in capital infusion.
“Yolanda is a rainmaker. She is connected to just about everyone in Baldwin county (which includes four of the state’s five fastest growing communities),” said one of Johnson’s colleagues. “[She] is making the Alabama SBDC presence known throughout south Alabama.”
Culverhouse College of Commerce Dean Kay Palan said, “Economic development is a critical part of our mission. Recognition for those front-line efforts is always much appreciated. Kudos to Yolanda for all the hard work that she does.”
After earning a bachelor’s degree in business management from Auburn University, Johnson pursued a master’s in education at the University of West Alabama, where she served as the Director of the Small Business Development Center. Afterward, Yolanda worked in business development and marketing positions with firms in the construction, architecture, and engineering industries and served as the executive director of the Hoover Chamber of Commerce. In 2015, she began work for UA’s Alabama SBDC Network, as part of the team that covers south Alabama.