The Kentucky Small Business Development Center (SBDC) has opened a new office to serve Paducah and nearby residents with small business resources.

Funded in part by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), the Kentucky SBDC helps entrepreneurs and existing business owners find resources and information to be competitive in their marketplace.

Aaron Harned serves as the local business coach. A Paducah native, Harned grew up in a small-business family and has worked in his family’s restaurant, Harned’s Drive-In, for 19 years. Harned holds a bachelor’s degree in agriculture from Western Kentucky University, according to a news release from SBDC.

“The pandemic has created an interesting time, where we’re seeing both a lot of growth and a lot of challenges,” said Kristina Joyce, state director for the Kentucky SBDC. “We exist not only to help new businesses get started, but also to help existing businesses through any challenge —which has included COVID-19. That’s why we’ve added these new offices and coaches — we want to make sure every entrepreneur in Kentucky can reach us if they need us.”

To meet the heightened demand for business coaching for new and existing small businesses throughout the state, the Kentucky Small Business Development Center has doubled in size over the past year. The additions include 16 new staff and six new locations, bringing the Kentucky SBDC’s total to 33 coaches and 17 locations to serve Kentucky businesses, officials said.

Small business statistics during the pandemic:

  • Over the past year, the Kentucky SBDC has helped 2,988 business owners understand the varied COVID-19 relief program and funding options.
  • Businesses have also started up in [greater] numbers than the previous program year. In the past year of the program, the Kentucky SBDC has helped 268 businesses get started.
  • Kentucky SBDC has served more than 2,400 clients through business coaching and had more than 12,000 attendees view business webinars.
  • Kentucky SBDC has helped secure $74 million in financing for new and existing businesses.

The Paducah Office can be reached at 270-953-0153. More information about this office can be found at www.ken

Kentucky SBDC is hosted by the University of Kentucky’s College of Agriculture, Food and Environment and supported by various partners statewide. For more information on Kentucky SBDC services, visit