Robert Chism is no stranger to entrepreneurship. A long-time client of the SBDC, he first sought assistance in 2008 for his advertising firm, Mad Media. He met with a professional business consultant who assisted him with an outline of best practices, detailed information on regulations and methods of developing contacts to stimulate his business.
However, after the 2010 BP oil spill, Chism found himself—like many other business owners on the Gulf Coast—experiencing negative impacts from the spill. He went back to the SBDC for specific assistance in filing a claim against BP. The FSBDC helped with compiling and submitting the claim with GCCF and Chism was able to recover a sufficient claim.
Chism and his wife, Jennifer, and partner Eric Scanlon wanted to combine their new favorite pastime, Stand Up Paddleboarding and decided to use the capital from their claim to start a new business venture – SUP (Stand Up Paddleboard) Dogs. Again, they came to the SBDC and met with a professional business consultant to get information on how to best structure and set up the new venture. A short time later, SUP Dogs was up and running.
SUP Dogs provides single day or multi-day paddleboard rentals with free delivery and pick up for their clients. They supply everything – oars, life vests, safety whistles, locks, racks for a vehicle, and maps of the best places to paddle that are remote so that their clients can explore on their own terms.
“When starting or growing a business, it is tremendous help to have access to the SBDC’s wealth of knowledge and experience,” said Robert Chism.
"Whether you are starting your first business or you are an experienced entrepreneur, the SBDC is a valuable resource. We would not have been as successful, as quickly as we did, had it not been for the help and support of their staff. We’re grateful for their help in compiling and submitting our BP claim, providing us with an outline for starting our new business, and great advice on good start up business practices."
- Robert Chism, Co-Owner, SUP Dogs