SATOP has formed Alliances with Economic Development Organizations (EDOs) to help market the program to small businesses.

The Space Alliance Technology Outreach Program (SATOP) would not be able to operate without the enthusiastic support of economic development organizations (EDO) throughout the state. The Victoria Economic Development Corporation (VEDC) is one of the program’s newest EDOs to step forward and help market this program to small business owners throughout its community, which is located 120 miles southwest of Houston.

Formed in 1982, the VEDC is a private/public EDO created to recruit/retain/expand business, create jobs and increase the tax base for the City of Victoria, Victoria County and the surrounding geographical region impacting Victoria’s economy.

“Each day, we strive to help the manufacturers and basic industries in our region become as profitable as possible by giving them access to beneficial resources,” said Dale Fowler, executive director of the VEDC, which joined the SATOP team in December 2001. “The Space Alliance Technology Outreach Program is a resource we are proud to offer to our community businesses to help them overcome existing or future technical challenges.”

Fowler uses several marketing tools to promote SATOP throughout this region.
He regularly disseminates brochures on the program to new and existing businesses, as well as promotes it during all public presentations, including VEDC meetings, Rotary Club meetings and more. “We first introduced SATOP to our business community during one of our weekly breakfast meetings, which is attended by business owners, academia and members of the media,” Fowler said. “The media were so intrigued about this program and helped us spread the word about its availability.”

The result of that meeting led to two newspaper articles, as well as hits on local television and radio stations to promote the program. Several business owners contacted the VEDC to obtain more information and a few have already completed a Request for Technical Assistance. “We are eager to generate our first success story because we feel this will really demonstrate the tremendous merits of this program and hopefully spark more people to take advantage of it,” said Thomas Eisman, market analyst for the VEDC, who files the necessary paperwork for the business owners to receive program assistance. “The free assistance is destined to help businesses run more efficiently and improve profit margins, which ultimately means retaining and expanding jobs - our core focus. The VEDC is very proud to be associated with the program.”

“Many business owners think there is a catch to SATOP when they first hear about it - they think it is impossible to receive free technical assistance from the NASA Johnson Space Center and the aerospace contractors,” said Bob Mitchell, deputy director for SATOP. “The staff at the Victoria EDC consists of extremely poised sales and marketing professionals that are helping us reverse this belief and giving people access to the help they need to evolve and prosper.” For more information on the VEDC, visit www.victoriaedc.com or call (361) 575-0241.