The North Central Minnesota Small Business Development Center at Central Lakes College recently completed its 31st year of assisting small businesses and entrepreneurs in Minnesota. The SBDC provides information, training and consulting services to small business owners and prospective small business owners in an 11-county region of north central Minnesota. Most SBDC services are provided at no cost to qualified business owners and entrepreneurs with consulting expenses paid by grants and donations to the college. In 2016, the SBDC served 400 clients, assisted over 25 entrepreneurs in starting their business and helped small business owners raise $23 million in funding for business growth. “There are great opportunities in this region for people to start and expand businesses,” Greg Bergman, director of the SBDC, said. “Many people here have great ideas and the work ethic needed to successfully start and nurture a business venture.”

Working with local and regional partners, the SBDC’s focus on business planning, financial management and access to financing has been expanded over the past year to include strategic management and planning assistance. “Strategy planning is one of those things that a business owner tends to put off for too long,” Bergman said. “Developing long-term plans not only helps the business owner focus on building value in their business, it helps retain the most productive employees who see a long-term future with their employer.”

In 2017, the SBDC is expecting to see continuing interest in entrepreneurship in the region. To share more about its programs, the SBDC has scheduled an open house from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. on March 22 at the Central Lakes College Business and Industry Center. For more information, contact the SBDC at (218) 855-8140 or ktretter@clcmn.edu.

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