M State selected as new host of regional small business development center

Minnesota State Community and Technical College has been selected as the new host of the West Central Minnesota Small Business Development Center for a three-year period beginning January 1, 2023.

M State was selected for its proven commitment to business development, existing resources, large geographic and demographic footprint, and established partnerships with regional businesses and industry.

M State’s Moorhead campus will be the new location of the West Central Minnesota Small Business Development Center beginning Jan. 1, 2023 and continuing through 2025. The campus is located at 1900 28th Avenue S. in Moorhead.

“I am absolutely confident that Minnesota State Community and Technical College will do an excellent job of providing residents and small business clients in the region with the best counseling, training and business assistance available,” wrote Bruce Strong, state director of Minnesota Small Business Development Center Network, in its congratulatory letter to M State.

The center will be based on M State’s Moorhead campus, in an accessible office and meeting area that will be open full-time during regular college hours, 8am-4:30pm Monday through Friday. M State will also host part-time satellite locations as needed throughout the region.

The West Central Minnesota Small Business Development Center (SBDC) serves Clay, Becker, Otter Tail, Wilkin, Grant, Douglas, Traverse, Pope and Stevens counties and is one of nine regional SBDC offices in the state. Established in 1980 to help small businesses start, grow and succeed, the SBDC offers free one-on-one professional business consulting services and helps secure investment capital for business ventures.

“Hosting the SBDC regional office at M State will provide exciting opportunities for our students, our community partners and anyone in the region interested in starting or growing a business,” said M State President Carrie Brimhall. “M State is uniquely suited to this task, with our long history of educating and serving students in the region, as well as our proven success in building community connections and working with local businesses.”

SBDC clients include business owners, students, entrepreneurs and others, who receive realistic advice from hand-picked consultants on everything from developing a business plan to selling a business. M State will bring in current faculty, contract consultants and trainers with the college’s workforce development solutions to provide this consultation.

Dr. Marsha Weber, dean of M State’s School of Business and Information Technology, credits workforce development solutions as “one of the reasons we have such a strong case for locating the SBDC office here.” Weber and M State grants coordinator Cindy Bailey wrote and presented the proposal for M State to host the center.

“We can really leverage Workforce Development Solutions, our custom training department to help with the SBDC — the two will be a great complement to each other,” Weber said. “I think in the communities that we serve and the region that we serve, the entrepreneurial environment is ripe for new entrants. Both SBDC and workforce development solutions can identify and address the needs of future entrepreneurs and small business owners.”

Many supportive stakeholders are involved to assist M State in identifying and targeting SBDC clients, training development, material distribution, and collaborative projects. These partners include the City of Moorhead, Downtown Moorhead Inc., the West Central Initiative and the Greater Fargo Moorhead Economic Development Corporation, to name a few.

A full-time regional director will be hired to manage the SBDC center at M State, and a program coordinator will perform supporting responsibilities such as client planning and accounting.

Concordia College in Moorhead, which has been the SBDC regional host since 2011, will continue to host through the end of the year.

The SBDC is supported by the US Small Business Administration, the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development and other local partners.

As a member of the Minnesota State System, M State serves more than 7,000 students in credit courses each year in more than 70 career and liberal arts programs online and at its campuses in Detroit Lakes, Fergus Falls, Moorhead and Wadena. By partnering with communities, the college also provides workforce development services and other responsive learning programs.

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