SBDC offers help for small businesses

UWSP Group speaks at New London City Meeting

By Robert Cloud

Representatives from the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) spoke to the New London Economic Development Committee on Tuesday 25 October.

Patrick Gatterman, the center’s director, said SBDC has offices on every University of Wisconsin campus in the state.

It is affiliated with the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point.

SBCD helps small business owners develop business plans for start-ups, business expansions or entering new markets.

Although Gatterman has called business plans “our bread and butter,” he said SBDC is better known for its business courses and training programs for entrepreneurs.

SBDC offers in-person courses on hiring strategies and online courses on digital marketing strategies, getting started with small business, QuickBooks, tax seminars, and financing opportunities.

Gatterman said the team of three at Stevens Point provides training and advice for small business owners, whether they’re offering a service like dog walking or planning to build a multi-million dollar expansion.

April Kopitzke, chief executive of the New London Chamber of Commerce, told the committee: “SBDC is my first port of call when I can’t help a company and they have a question about funding or their business plan.”

She said she recommends SBDC as a resource for people who may want to start new businesses or expand.

City Administrator Chad Hoerth asked Gatterman for his opinion on the relationship between chambers and cities.

Gatterman said he has worked with many counties and those where economic development organizations and chambers work together are more successful, have more business start-ups and more economic growth.

Another issue Gatterman addressed was the growing need for affordable space and shared rental-based resources.

He said entrepreneurs who have kitchen-based at-home businesses or food trucks are looking for kitchen space, but not restaurant space.

Gatterman noted that if they could share kitchen resources and shipping and receiving docks and services, they could grow their businesses.

He also pointed out that local cities could reinvent the “incubator” model of the 1980s when commercial space became less available, as office firms shared space in refurbished warehouses and factories.

The SBDC at Stevens Point can be contacted through its website at wisconsinsbdc.org/centers/stevenspoint, by email at [email protected] or by calling 715-346-3838.



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