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Meet Claudia Shah of Small Business Development Center

Today we’d like to introduce you to Claudia Shah.

Claudia, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I started working for the SBDC in 2011. It was a very appealing position to help other entrepreneurs and business owners succeed in their business.

Working with them through the process of starting their business until they were able to register and open up, is one of the most satisfying feelings. Sometimes it feels like I am the one “opening” the business with them.

Each and every accomplishment for those business owners who comes to us, is like our own. The work we do to walk them through growing an existing business as well a starting one, brings us new experiences and enrich our knowledge every time.

In 2015, I started leading the EAST LA Initiative with the SBDC in long Beach. The idea was to service the Latino community and mainly provide workshops and advising in Spanish in East LA. As a person who grew up in Colombia-South America, it was a dream come true to be able to help and work with a culture and community I feel very comfortable around.

Entrepreneurs are dynamic and fun. Full of desire and dreams. It makes my job lovable and with a compromise to make it happen for them.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Like I mentioned, their success is like my own. That means their struggles are mine too. Sometimes the confide in me their struggles, not only as business owners but as person. Is hard to hear stories about how divorce ruin their business, or how and abusive relation destroyed what they have.

Their financial or credit problems, kids, etc everything is a bump in their road and it makes my job hard. I want to help but I can’t be 24/7 walking with them. I want, but I can’t.

Like I always tell my clients, noting is perfect and no one is perfect. Our attitude has to change towards this negative comments, remarks, or situations. Take those negatives and make them into positive. Be aware of the problem so it doesn’t take you by surprise and try to have a plan A, B, and on.

Life is not perfect, and will never be. The bumps in our roads should teach and help us re-think, re-engage, and move forward. They should be a lesson learned.

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Small Business Development Center story. Tell us more about the business.
The Los Angeles Regional SBDC Network includes the Lead Center, eight local Service Centers and more than 20 satellite locations. It is among the top 10 funded networks in the country.

Our SBDC network assists small business owners throughout the Los Angeles, Santa Barbara and Ventura counties. We increase sales, obtain loans, streamline operations, utilize new technologies, expand into new markets, and position our clients for long-term growth. Our team of small business consultants provides no-cost business consulting and low-cost training programs in business operations and management, marketing, financing, business planning and more.

We opened our SBDC East LA in 2015 to service our Latino community, Bixel exchange to help with technology-oriented businesses, and the Ventura SBDC for International Trade.

SBDC’s in coordination with federal, state, local and private sector resources, deliver business management and operations assistance to small businesses. We provide business owners with assistance in business planning, management, marketing, sales, procurement, and strategic planning as well as access to financing.

There are eight SBDC service centers in the LA Regional Network that offer low-cost business training and no cost one-on-one consulting services. Please note that each center maintains its own client onboarding process and its own local workshop schedule.

Each center within the LA SBDC Network provides its own unique calendar of training and no cost consulting services tailored to the needs of their local business communities.


Business Planning
Financial Projection
Exploratory Funding
Lease Negotiation
Human Resource Management
State and Federal Tax Setup and Preparation
Web Development
Merchant Account Services
Franchise Purchase

New Business:

Financial Packaging
Contract Negotiations
Cash Flow Management and Financial Statement Preparation
Brand Creation and Development
Competitive Assessment
Target Market and Customer Identification
Marketing Channel Identification, Implementation, and Measurement

Growing Business:

Rebranding and Market Identification
Advanced Web Development (Shopping Cart, SEO, Email Segmentation, etc.)
Tax and Accounting Preparation
Government Procurement and Certification
Financial Packaging Assistance
New Employees
Permitting, Product Pricing, Succession Planning
Franchise Development
International Trade (Importing/Exporting)
Specialized assistance by industry

Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
Luck is up to you. You are the one that puts the good or bad attitude into play. That’s what I call luck.

Being positive and accepting my advantages and disadvantages in life is what will give me the end result. I’m very conscious that not everything is going to go according to my plan, and sometimes is hard to accept it, but I try my best to keep a positive attitude. And I feel I’m “lucky”.

There is this saying: “the grass always looks green on the other side”, but sometime when you get to that other side, you realize that yours was good and enough. That you are as lucky as you want to feel.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:

Claudia Shah

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