By Ryan Mapes, Business Development Network Program Leader and Endeavor Center Manager
2016 has been another successful year for the OSU Endeavor Center. The center operated at a 100% occupancy rate for most of the year, with new partners ready to come on board to fill vacated offices when they became available. Mid America Conversion Services is the latest business to become an Endeavor Center partner. There are 17 partner companies that occupy 25 office and light industrial bay spaces. We also have three virtual partners that occupy the building on a part-time basis but do not occupy an office. There has been much activity and many visitors through the Endeavor Center doors this year. We hosted over 400 training or meeting events with well over 5,000 visitors during 2016.
The Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at the OSU South Centers was recently successful in obtaining the SBDC funding award for another two-year period, 2017 and 2018. We will continue to provide business consulting to the existing and start-up small businesses in our service area, which changed slightly as Fayette County is now included in the Region 7 SBDC network. The SBDC area served now includes Adams, Brown, Gallia, Fayette, Highland, Jackson, Lawrence, Pike, Ross, Scioto, and Vinton Counties. For fiscal year 2016 the SBDC at the OSU South Centers provided the following assistance:
• Provided consulting to 345 clients of which 212 received five or more hours of consulting
• Assisted with starting 27 businesses
• Helped clients obtain $10,037,949 in capital
• Logged 5,002 consulting hours
• Held 20 training events with 503 attendees
• Clients created 172 new jobs and retained 1,011 jobs
• Recorded $7,415,000 in general sales growth for clients
SBDC work with the University of Rio Grande:
The OSU-RIO Collaboration broadcasts are multi-media (Radio, TV, YouTube and Live Internet Streaming) educational shows with a host of different topics that promote Small Businesses, Business Support Organizations, Programs at The Ohio State University South Centers, and Educational Programs at the University of Rio Grande/Rio Grande Community College.
As a result of the URG/OSU programming success, OSU was able to secure grant funds to install a recording studio at the South Centers. Currently, we are airing weekly shows pertaining to business and manufacturing.
The Small Business Administration provided additional support to the SBDC to have detailed marketing projects completed for SBDC clients. This project was completed in partnership with the University of Rio Grande in which students from Dr. Wesley Theone’s marketing class completed market research and developed comprehensive marketing plans for five SBDC clients.
SBDC Work with the Chillicothe Veterans Affairs Medical Center:
Over the past six months, the SBDC has partnered with the Office of Rehabilitative Services at the Chillicothe Veterans Affairs (VA) Medical Center to establish an entrepreneurship program for veterans. The program is divided into three two-hour classes and occurred quarterly. The classes focus on business feasibility and entrepreneurship readiness, business plan components, marketing, and operations. The veterans who have successfully completed this course have either already started or are in process of starting their own business. The next series of classes will begin in February.
SBDC work with SOACDF:
SBDC continues to work with the Southern Ohio Agricultural and Community Development Foundation in providing assistance to area farmers interested in applying for the Ag Development Grant and the Young Farmer Grant programs. This is a program where our SBDC counselors work closely with area farmers to write business plans for projects that will be submitted to SOACDF for potential grant funding to assist with their project. This year, we helped 43 individuals complete and submit applications for these programs. You can see details and deadlines about the program at www.soacdf.net/.
SBDC work in Export Assistance:
International markets provide opportunities for businesses to increase sales and create jobs. Many small companies don’t have the expertise or resources to expand their business into international markets. The Export Assistance Program (EAP) helps companies to expand globally through counseling in the areas of market research, due diligence, general export education, export readiness assessments, and trade missions.
The EAP worked with 19 Appalachian companies that were awarded $83,856 from the International Market Access Grant for Exporters (IMAGE) and/or the Appalachian Export Grant to expand their international marketing efforts and increase their exports.
Be sure to visit our weekly Blog and stay up-to-date with the OSU South Centers business development network at u.osu.edu/osubusinessdevelopmentnetwork.