The Tennessee Small Business Development Center at East Tennessee State University continues to partner with Blackburn, Childers and Steagall, CPAs to provide free guidance for current disaster assistance opportunities and more, a press release from the university said.

This local partnership was created through funding from the Small Business Administration. Last year’s assistance focused on loan forgiveness applications for the Payroll Protection Program and the list of assistance options for small businesses has expanded.

This year, the program will offer Disaster Fund guidance, assistance with loan forgiveness documents and advice for new business start-ups. New business start-ups will learn best practices, how to set up their books, an introduction to QuickBooks and some basic accounting functions, the release said.

“Through this partnership businesses can not only receive CPA assistance with their disaster related loans and forgiveness applications but new businesses can also receive counsel on how to manage and properly setup their business financials,” said Mark Bays, director of the Small Business Development Center. “To have such an excellent partner as Blackburn, Childers and Steagall in this capacity is an exciting opportunity to assist current and new businesses in our area.”

The program is open to new and current Small Business Development Center clients. The release said any business in the center’s service region may register at no charge to become eligible for this free assistance.

Blackburn, Childers and Steagall “sees this as a great opportunity to help small businesses in our region that may not have the resources internally or externally to fully take advantage of all federal, state and local assistance opportunities currently available during these stressful economic times for so many small businesses,” said Tommy Greer, a certified public accountant with the firm.

The end date to receive assistance is Aug. 31.

For more information or to sign up, contact Bays at

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