UNA Pressroom

Hughston Tapped To Lead Una's Small Business Development Center

Mar. 02, 2021

Michelle Eubanks, UNA, at media@una.edu, 256.765.4392 or 256.606.2033

Michelle Eubanks, UNA, at meubanks@una.edu, 256-606-2033 or 256-765-4392

Raysha Rhea, UNA's College of Business, at rldobbins@una.edu, 256-765-5269

FLORENCE, AL - Kimberly Hughston has been named the Director for the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at the University of North Alabama. Hughston, a Shoals native and UNA alumna, has strong roots locally and has established a career serving the community in her professional role with Southern Hospitality Holdings as well as in her volunteer work.

"I consider it an honor and a privilege to be a part of the University of North Alabama team," Hughston said. "I have always had a passion for helping people and a heart for the Shoals. This opportunity allows me to combine my education, corporate experience, and small business background to further connect our small businesses and communities to UNA and the SBDC network. I am excited to work alongside our Shoals small business resource partners to continue the path of a strong entrepreneurial community."

The mission of the Alabama SBDC is to strengthen the state's economy by providing high- quality assistance, training, and education to entrepreneurs and small business owners in all 67 counties. The program is funded, in part, through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration. The SBDC at UNA is a founding member of the Alabama SBDC Network, which has been helping companies start, grow, and succeed since 1980. The center provides training for businesses in nine northwest Alabama counties at no cost to the business owner through a one-on-one advising program.

"For more than 40 years, the SBDC at UNA has been led by a part-time director," said Dr. Greg Carnes, Dean of the College of Business. "While that model worked well in the past, the entrepreneurship spirit in the Shoals is increasing, so we wanted to increase our support for business owners by hiring a full-time SBDC director."

SBDC's develop partnerships with community organizations at local and state levels to provide a focal point for a broad network of public and private resources. The Shoals Chamber of Commerce and the Shoals Business Incubator are just two of the numerous organizations that partner with the Alabama SBDC at UNA to foster the growth and development of small businesses in Northwest Alabama.

"The Shoals Chamber of Commerce and UNA SBDC have long been partners in encouraging the formation and growth of local business," said Caitlin Holland, President of the Shoals Chamber of Commerce. "That partnership will only be strengthened with the hiring of Kimberly Hughston, an incredible addition to the SBDC network and the Shoals' business growth efforts."

Giles McDaniel, President of the Shoals Business Incubator, said the full-time director will be additional support for local businesses.

"Kimberly will be a great addition to the Shoals Shift Team for promoting business growth," he said. "Many accolades to UNA for making this important position full-time. We at the Shoals Business Incubator look forward to growing our partnership with the SBDC Network."

About The University of North Alabama

The University of North Alabama is an accredited, comprehensive regional state university offering undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral degree programs through the colleges of Arts and Sciences, Business, Education and Human Sciences, and the Anderson College of Nursing and Health Professions. Occupying a 130-acre campus in a residential section of Florence, Alabama, UNA is located within a four-city area that also includes Muscle Shoals, Sheffield, and Tuscumbia. UNA Athletics, a renowned collegiate athletics program with seven (7) Division II National Championships, is now a proud member of the NCAA Division I's ASUN Big South Conference. The University of North Alabama is an equal opportunity institution and does not discriminate in the admission policy on the basis of race, color, sex, religion, disability, age, or national origin. For more: www.una.edu and www.una.edu/unaworks/