Starting a business can be a daunting task. Those with the entrepreneurial spirit may know they have a great idea and that there’s a market for their service or product, but they may not know where to go from there. The Iowa Small Business Development Center was established just for this purpose.
The South Central Iowa SBDC, hosted by Southwestern Community College, provides support to start-up businesses and existing small businesses in communities located in the Southern tier of Iowa, comprised of Adair, Adams, Clarke, Decatur, Madison, Montgomery, Ringgold, Taylor and Union counties. The SBDC coordinates counseling services to help launch new businesses and also support existing small businesses. These services include helping obtain investments and finances to establish a new business, assisting with set up of an exit or succession plan for existing businesses and everything in between.
Through partial funding from the U.S. Small Business Association and matching funds Southwestern Community College, their host institution, and local economic development groups including Clarke County Development Corporation, the SBDC is able to offer business planning services, monthly workshops and one-on-one consulting at no charge to the business owner.
Our goal is to support business and economic development in our region by providing one-on-one counseling, training opportunities and market research to our clients,” said Brandi Shay, South Central Iowa SBDC Regional Director.
There are 15 Small Business Development Centers throughout Iowa, most of them housed on college campuses, all of them overlapping and working together. Their mission is to have a positive impact on the economy of the State of Iowa and its communities.
Even if you don’t consider yourself a small business, SBDC works with companies with 500 or fewer employees who need guidance in establishing, running or growing their businesses. The most common challenges across the state for small businesses are financing, accounting and marketing, but one of the least utilized services is succession planning.
It’s definitely a struggle. The younger generation of workers leave the community for college or to try living in bigger cities. Owners of existing businesses age out and there’s no one to take over so the business just closes,” said Shay. “While Osceola is seeing many former students returning to the area to live and work, many small communities are not. We try to provide needed resources to fill the void, but succession planning and economic development becomes essential.”