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Minnesota State University, Mankato

Minnesota State University, Mankato

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SBDC celebrates two years on campus

SBDC helped small business attain over $21 million in financing in 2012.

2013-02-16
Minnesota State University, Mankato Media Relations Office, 2-15-2013

Mankato, Minn. – The South Central Minnesota Small Business Development Center moved its headquarters to Minnesota State University, Mankato’s Alumni Foundation Center two years ago this week, and the move has yielded impressive dividends for small business while also benefitting the university and region.

In 2012, the Small Business Development Center at Minnesota State Mankato, through its programs and partner organizations, helped small business attain over $21 million in financing – assisting with loan packaging, business plans and cash flow forecasting. The $21 million in financing attained for small business was more than 230 percent higher than the $10 million goal set for the center by the U.S. Small Business Administration.

“The Small Business Development Center has been a great fit with our University,” said Bob Hoffman, vice president for strategic business, education and regional partnerships at Minnesota State Mankato. “With the SBDC, we have created learning opportunities for our students, have connected faculty and departments with many regional businesses, and have worked one-on-one with over a hundred small business leaders. The collaborative effort not only leverages the resources of the University, but also other regional organizations – including county and city governments, local banks, the Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation, Regional Center for Entrepreneurial Facilitation, and Greater Mankato Growth. We look forward to strengthening these partnerships to better serve the small business community in our region.”

The Small Business Development Center at Minnesota State Mankato exceeded all of the goals that were set for it by SBA for 2012. In 2012, the SBDC saw 438 clients (300 goal); provided over 4,400 consulting hours (3,000 goal); assisted with 18 new business starts (15 goal); helped create and retain 581 jobs (463 goal); and helped small business raise more than $14.9 million in investment capital ($9 million goal).

The grant-funded, not-for-profit center is directed by Mike Nolan.

“It is been a fantastic experience working with all the great people here at Minnesota State University, Mankato,” said Nolan. “We have collaborated on projects with a number of university colleges, departments and students from almost every major on campus. Minnesota State Mankato truly adds to our region’s economic success."

The Small Business Development Center at Minnesota State Mankato had a number of other 2012 accomplishments:

  • -Established satellite centers in Waseca and developed partnerships with economic development organizations in Watonwan and Faribault counties.
  • -Strengthened a partnership with the Regional Center for Entrepreneurial Facilitation, and its work with Martin County’s Ignite program and Blue Earth County.
  • -Hosted the statewide SBDC conference in May 2012 in Minnesota State Mankato’s Centennial Student Union.
  • -Delivered 42 workshops, including a free legal clinic, a profit mastery class and entrepreneurial essential classes with area WorkForce Centers.
  • -Monthly free legal clinics were offered.

Innovative Initiatives
Turn-Around Assistance Program (TAP). The Small Business Development Center actively participates in this program spurred by the 2010 Small Business Jobs Act, delivering in-depth, high-level technical assistance to distressed but viable businesses that have been adversely affected by the sluggish economy. Results include over 100 jobs saved and several companies stabilized.

Entrepreneur Doorway Program (EDP). This initiative serves minority, immigrant and refugee entrepreneurs within an environment of respect and trust. It is a partnership of the SBDC, La-Mano, Inc., Greater Mankato Diversity Council, Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development and Region Nine Development Commission. The Entrepreneur Doorway Program recently was awarded a Bremer Foundation $75,000 grant.

Student Engagement. At Minnesota State Mankato, the Small Business Development Center interacts campus-wide with students and faculty including classroom presentations, advising the Entrepreneurship Club, employing graduate assistants at the Center, and providing one-on-one consulting to numerous students for business plans, market studies and research projects.

Veterans Outreach. The Small Business Development Center partners with the WorkForce Centers, county veterans service officers and higher education to assist veterans with starting or growing a business. In 2012, the acclaimed Profit Mastery® course was offered to veterans at no cost.

State-of-the-Art Client Resources. The Small Business Development Center has access to new and more sophisticated tools and resources to assist clients, such as LivePlan interactive business plan development, Microsoft Brandify to help clients improve their online brand and reach more customers, ProfitCents financial analysis software, and industry profiles and research.

Prior to relocating to Minnesota State Mankato, the Small Business Development Center was hosted for more than 10 years by the Region Nine Development Commission. The 2011 affiliation with Minnesota State Mankato has provided the center with a cadre of business student interns and volunteers who can conduct research for center clients and faculty who can advise business owners about marketing, finance and management.

In addition to Minnesota State Mankato, a number of other local organizations are collaborators. Among them are South Central College, Greater Mankato Growth, Inc., the WorkForce Center and the Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation.

The center serves clients in nine counties: Blue Earth, Brown, Faribault, Le Sueur, Martin, Nicollet, Sibley, Waseca and Watonwan. In addition to its Minnesota State Mankato office, the center maintains outreach centers in Gaylord and Fairmont, and soon will add outreach offices in New Ulm and Waseca.

One of nine regional centers across Minnesota, the Small Business Development Center at Minnesota State Mankato provides professional services at no cost to pre-venture, emerging and established business owners. Services include readiness assessment counseling for those hoping to convert an idea to reality; strategic realignment advice for businesses that need to change direction; and long-term growth strategizing for established businesses.

The center’s no-cost, confidential consulting includes assistance with access to capital and loan packaging, financial assessment, accounting systems, marketing plan development and research, feasibility analysis, business plan development, e-commerce and web site development, and succession strategic planning.

Small business owners who wish to contact the Small Business Development Center may do so by visiting the center at 1536 Warren Street or by calling (507) 389-8875. The center’s headquarters office is staffed by Nolan and Program Manager Julie Nelson.

Nolan is a “serial entrepreneur” who developed and sold two successful companies, and then earned an MBA from the Melbourne School of Business. Nelson – responsible for client intake and assessment, resource identification, training and education, marketing and strategic partnerships – has 13 years of economic development experience with the former Greater Mankato Economic Development Corporation.

Minnesota State Mankato, a comprehensive university with 15,413 students, is part of the Minnesota State Colleges & Universities system, which comprises 31 state institutions.

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