This week, Upper Cumberland Development District (UCDD) will assume management of the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) – an organization tasked with assisting local businesses access funds through U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).

Representatives of UCDD and Middle Tennessee State University, host of Tennessee Small Business Development Centers network (TSBDC), recently signed a contract naming UCDD the new host of the Upper Cumberland SBDC site. The service area for this SBDC location includes Clay, Pickett, Smith, Jackson, Overton, Fentress, DeKalb, Putnam, and White counties. UCDD has been approved to provide service to any community in the region and is in the process of ramping up and is looking forward to working with business owners across the Upper Cumberland.

“I want to thank the Upper Cumberland mayors and executives along with President Philip Oldham of Tennessee Tech for the opportunity to serve our business community as the Small Business Development Center of the Upper Cumberland,” UCDD Executive Director Mark Farley said.

Known for providing small business start-up services, SBDC offers assistance with business plan development, financial planning assistance, marketing plan development, sources of capital, and social media guidance among other services. For more than 30 years, the TSBDC network has been empowering small business owners, entrepreneurs, and individuals with a business idea to innovate new products and services that compete in the global marketplace.

TSBDC has 20 various locations and has assisted more than 100,000 businesses.

Tyler Asher has been named director of the SBDC. He brings more than 10 years of client engagement/retention and business development experience to his new role. Most recently, Asher worked as a Farmers Insurance Agency owner.

“As a lifelong resident of the Upper Cumberland, this was an easy choice to take over this program and help the small businesses grow,” Asher said. “I can’t thank Mr. Farley enough for this opportunity along with the amazing support of the folks here at the UCDD. I am so blessed with this opportunity, I believe my background as a business owner will directly help those looking to start their own business.”

Megan Choate, director of Lending and Economic Development at UCDD, added, “As the nation comes out of the COVID-19 pandemic there will be many opportunities for growth and we will continue to provide valuable resources to business and industry.”

SBDC has been tasked with rolling out the SBA Payroll Protection Program and related COVID-19 recovery loans. UCDD encourages any small business owner in the Upper Cumberland in need of assistance to contact Tyler Asher, director of Small Business Development Center by phone at (931) 261-0421 or by email at

The Upper Cumberland Development District office continues to remain closed to the public due to public health concerns related to COVID-19. The staff will continue to assist clients primarily via phone and email. Essential services such as nutrition will continue. Individuals seeking assistance through programs and services offered by UCDD are encouraged to contact the office by calling (931) 432-4111.