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South Centers

College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences


Business Development Network Updates

Endeavor Center

2018 is off to a good start for the OSU Endeavor Center business incubator. The center operated at nearly a 100% occupancy rate in the first two quarters, having only one space available for lease.  A new partner application was recently approved and a start-up health coaching business will take possession of that office next month.  

There has also been much activity and many visitors through the doors.  We have hosted many training events and business meetings while continuing to receive requests to schedule meeting space at later dates.  In summary, there are 18 (soon to be 19) partner companies that occupy 26 office and light industrial bay spaces.  We also have four virtual partners that occupy the building on a part-time basis, but do not occupy an office.

Small Business Development Center

The Small Business Development Center (SBDC) continues to grow with its successes in assisting businesses achieve their goals.  The SBDC provides business counseling and assistance to individuals who are either starting or growing their business. The Piketon center is staffed with highly trained, Certified Business Advisors® (CBA) to help small businesses and entrepreneurs with development and growth to increase sales and create jobs in their local communities.

Regional partnerships are the primary source of referrals for SBDC at the OSU South Centers.  Collaborative efforts with local chambers of commerce and economic development offices serve as the primary conduit to connect entrepreneurs with the services of the SBDC. The South Centers also maintains formal agreements with local universities for regional economic development collaboration. Pike County Community Action and the Minority Business Assistance Center are also key partners with the SBDC. These relationships help the region’s entrepreneurs, business owners, and small manufacturers with technical assistance and training.
Services Include:

•    Business assessment evaluation                            
•    Cash flow analysis                                                  
•    Financial projections development                          
•    Strategic business planning                                    
•    One-on-One business counseling               
•   Identifying sources of capital
•   Workshops and training programs
•   Marketing strategy development 
•   Market feasibility and research
•   Export Assistance

To schedule an appointment to meet with one of our highly trained counselors, contact Brad Bapst, SBDC Center Director, at 740-289-2071 ext.230, or email

Lumber Grading Training

In 2011, Ohio’s forest products industry, encompassing forestry and logging, wood products manufacturing, paper manufacturing, and wood furniture manufacturing, employed approximately 47,200 people, created $4 billion of labor income, and produced outputs of approximately $13.6 billion (Coronado et al 2015).  

The Southeast region, which encompasses many of Ohio’s Appalachian counties, contains the most intensive primary processing of forest products in the state and the highest concentration of sawmills producing greater than 5 million board feet of lumber annually (Coronado 2015). According to an analysis by Michaud and Jolley (2016), the Appalachian region of Ohio is home to over 60% of the state’s sawmill employees, which contributed approximately $711 million to the region’s economy.

The importance of the forest and wood products industry to the region prompted the OSU South Centers Business Development Network, in conjunction with the Manufacturing Extension Partnership and National Hardwood Lumber Association (NHLA), to host a Lumber Grading Short Course in April. 

Fourteen participants in the NHLA-taught courses learned the basics of hardwood lumber inspection and received hands-on grading training; skills that will help them as they pursue opportunities across the forest and wood products industry, or work to improve their company’s processes and valuations in order to become more profitable. 

Most of the course participants were current employees of local lumber businesses; however, a few of the attendees were local high school students and support organizations interested in the forest and wood products industry as a career opportunity or knowledge enrichment.  Participants who successfully completed the course received the NHLA lumber grading certification; a certification that is highly regarded in the lumber industry.  

The success of the course has prompted the OSU South Centers Business Development Network to make plans to continue to offer the course annually. 

Manufacturing Extension Partnership

The Ohio State University Center for Design and Manufacturing Excellence, the Manufacturing Extension Partnership affiliate in southern and southeast Ohio, partnered with OSU South Centers to host a Lean Training event in the Endeavor Center on April 17. Scioto Productivity Solutions provided the training and there were 12 attendees who participated.
During the day-long event, the trainer covered topics such as introduction to Lean, basics of TPS, history of TPS, tools, how-to implement, keys for small business, leadership, and Six Sigma, as well as incorporating several hands-on activities to bring the training to life.

Attendees will be able to return to their companies with a tremendous conceptual understanding of Lean, begin basic implementation, and also be in a great situation to receive additional training at their company site for a more in-depth, comprehensive Lean program. This additional implementation can also be provided by CDME/MEP as a service to the company.

Aquaculture Boot Camp 2018

Due to adverse weather in January, Aquaculture Boot Camp II was postponed until February, when we met our 34 recruits and went over the yearlong agenda on which they were about to embark.  Throughout the year we plan to continually work with these attendees in, not only the technical side of an aquaculture/aquaponics operation, but also the business side. 

It is our mission to help them reach their business goals by assisting with development of business and marketing plans, as well as financial projections they can take from the session and determine if this is a viable business for them.  Like with any other business in which we work, we hope to better educate and help form a plan prior to jumping in and not realizing what all may or may not be involved.  Each month we will have a business session focusing on important aspects that come with starting and successfully running a business.  We also will meet with clients on a one-to-one basis in order to dig deeper into their business ideas and answer questions that pertain to their differing situations.  

OSU South Centers and University of Rio Grande Telecasts

Mr. Joe Perkins, owner of Perkins Community TV in Youngstown, Ohio and Shane Reinhert of Anderson Community TV in Cincinnati, Ohio are now replaying OSU / URG Telecasts that are aired each week on Wednesday afternoons and Thursday mornings. These telecasts encompass 28 - 30 different half hour broadcasts each month, are live-streamed, and are saved on OSU South Centers and University of Rio Grande YouTube channels.  Many Telecasts are also aired on Rio Grande Cable Access TV.  There are 6-9 different telecasts each week.

Viewers can easily see the telecasts by visiting and
Formats of the telecast follow a Public Access TV format, providing educational programming geared to persons in the fields of agriculture, banking and economics, arts, museum, community, tourism, sports, health, technology, business, and organizations.