CANYON, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — Officials with West Texas A&M University announced that its Small Business Development Center was named the “Center of the Year” by the Northwest Texas Small Business Development Center (SBDC) Region earlier this month.

Officials detailed that the center was recognized for its “focus on assisting small businesses across the Texas Panhandle recover from the pandemic.”

The center celebrated its 35th year consulting small businesses in the region who aim to grow their business and lead a diverse and healthy economy, WT added.

“For the last 35 years, the SBDC at the Paul and Virginia Engler College of Business has played an important role in growing local small businesses across the Texas Panhandle that keep our region strong,” said Dr. Amjad Abdullat, dean. “The work they did to help businesses recover from the pandemic was invaluable, and we`re proud of their efforts that won them Center of the Year.”

According to officials, the SBDC saw a 25% increase in clients who want to grow their business in 2021.

“We attribute that to people having a post-COVID realization that they want to have multiple sources of revenue to provide stability to their personal and business finances,” said Gina Woodward, SBDC director. “Our staff has worked tirelessly to help these new and existing businesses thrive. I am incredibly proud of their efforts and continued dedication to making sure that Texas Panhandle small businesses are some of the best to be found across the globe.”

WT’s Small Business Center also received a $5 million club award which is given to SBDC staff who “helped clients receive funding of at least $5 million during the year,” officials noted.