By: Ryan Mapes, OSU - Endeavor Center Manager
The Ohio State University South Centers Small Business Development Center (SBDC) is a nine-person team including a Regional Director, a manufacturing specialist, an international trade assistance specialist, four business counselors and two program assistants. The District 7 SBDC Center utilizes a unified delivery model to incorporate resources from other programs affiliated with The Ohio State University South Centers, including the Ohio Cooperative Development Center, Direct Marketing and OSU Extension programs.
In 2015 the OSU South Centers SBDC provided 4,463 one-on-one consulting hours to entrepreneurs and existing businesses in the region. As a result, the clients started 27 new businesses, obtained $24,502,381 in loans and other capital, helped create 328 jobs and increased sales by nearly $32,214,000. The SBDC also provided 30 training sessions with 608 attendees. Training topics included general business management and growth principles, Microsoft Office products and social media outlets.
Individual Counselors are recognized each year at the Statewide SBDC conference for extraordinary efforts given throughout the year. These Peer Recognition Awards are voted on by all counselors around the state. All levels of field staff are eligible for nomination and there are five categories of awards: advocacy, collaboration, innovation, marketing, and mentoring. This year two of our counselors brought home individual awards. Patrick Dengel won the collaboration award and Melissa Carter won the marketing award.
Regional partnerships are the primary source of referrals for the District 7 SBDC. The South Centers maintains formal agreements with three local universities for regional economic development collaboration. The SBDC also utilized formal Memorandums of Understanding with the Southern Ohio Procurement Outreach Center, the district’s PTAC, and Pike County Community Action. These relationships help the region’s entrepreneurs, business owners and small manufacturers with technical assistance and training.
The OSU South Centers SBDC Center also participated in multiple entrepreneurial focused events throughout the year such as: Lumber Grading School, Business Blog Talk, From Dream to Reality, and the SOACDF Tobacco Diversification Initiative.
Lumber Grading School Over a dozen loggers from Ohio and abroad gathered at OSU South Centers June 29 through Jule 3 to participate in a course designed to give them a better understanding and develop their skills in the timber industry. The five-day Lumber Grading Short Course/Flex Day Course was instructed by a National Hardwood Lumber Association National Inspector. The OSU South Centers Business Development Network worked with Appalachian Partnership for Economic Growth to provide reimbursement through the Make It In America workforce development grant to cover the costs of the training for companies sending employees to the Lumber Grading School.
Business Blog Talk is a weekly podcast that incorporates business resources and highlights entrepreneurial successes in our region. In partnership with the University of Rio Grande, this program has now expanded into weekly television broadcasts. This is a unique and innovative approach to communicate with our clients and partners about the services available and to share success stories that help market the businesses of OSU South Center’s clients.
From Dream to Reality is a five-week course that meets twice a week and is designed to provide an opportunity to learn a variety of skills needed to own and operate a business. This course is offered two times per year through a partnership with the Pike Community Action Agency.
Tobacco Diversification Initiative is an annual program for agribusiness and next generation farmers in the 22-county area served by the Southern Ohio Agricultural and Community Development Foundation to diversify from tobacco production into a profitable venture.
The staff of The OSU South Centers SBDC continues to engage community organizations to maintain awareness of changing needs of entrepreneurs in the region and develop solutions to combat any negative impact to the economy. Counselors volunteered time to serve as board members on several chambers of commerce, on a regional board established to support economic development, and as members of advisory boards for business organizations to increase awareness of business issues and identify solutions to problems.