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Trustees Learn of Benefits of SBDC to Area Businesses

By Staff | Jun 25, 2013

The Trustees of Iowa Lakes Community College met at the Spencer campus Tuesday afternoon to learn about academic programs at the campus and what the Small Business Development Center does for economic development in this region of the state.

Mary Faber, Director of the Spencer campus, mentioned the upgrades in campus facilities and then focused on the importance of the Allied Health Advisory Boards.

“The members of these boards are so valuable to us, because they help us align our academic programs with the standards of the working world,” Faber said.

She reported that the input of these advisory boards is utilized to fashion curriculum so that students have the skills needed to be members of a strong workforce. One of the Spencer programs Massage Therapy was expanded to the Algona campus this summer.

Faber then introduced Kelly McCarty, Director of the Small Business Development Center (SBDC), which is based at the Spencer campus.

McCarty works with entrepreneurs in 10 counties in northwest Iowa, providing practical, hands-on assistance to all types of businesses from start-ups to 500 employee firms, to companies with new and promising technologies.

The college and SBDC have been partners in economic development for more than 25 years, assisting hundreds of aspiring and existing entrepreneurs in starting or growing their businesses.

McCarty shared statewide statistics along with specific data from his office. Since 2007, the Iowa Small Business Development Centers statewide have counseling 15,172 clients, creating or saving 9,372 jobs. That work gave birth to 908 new businesses, growing their sales by some $180 million and attracting over $330 million in new capital.

“This year from October 2012 through May 2013 this center has counseled 137 clients, saw 13 new businesses started creating 80 new jobs and retaining 25 jobs,” said McCarty. “That attracted new capital of $4.4 million and saw sales grow by $3.3 million.”

McCarty’s office is one of 15 regional business assistance centers in the state.

“The Northwest Iowa SBDC offers continued assistance in marketing, recordkeeping and general business management consulting,” commented McCarty.

Services are free, confidential and customized to the needs of each business person. In addition, McCarty offers a series of seminars, workshops and entrepreneurial development activities.

The SBDC is funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration.

In other business Tuesday afternoon, Clark Marshall, Executive Director of Economic Development and Continuing Education, discussed the 260E New Jobs Training Project for Simonsen Iron Works. The Trustees voted to transfer the training agreement to Thurston Manufacturing, the company which purchased the Spencer plant in mid-May.

An update on several projects was given by Delaine Hiney, Executive Director of Facilities Management. Contractors are drilling the geo-thermal wells at the Sustainable Energy Resource Technology Building in Estherville and preparatory work for the new swine facility at the College Farm Lab is moving forward.

Bob L’Heureux, Vice President of Administration, presented the fees for the Iowa Community College Online Consortium classes along with Ed-to-Go tuition. The Trustees approved the fees.

The Trustees learned of a new initiative to increase student recruitment and retention from Jolene Rogers, Executive Director of Institutional Advancement. The office teamed with the Admissions office to contact recent Iowa Lakes graduates via an electronic post card. So far, 19 referrals have been made.

In other business, the Trustees received general committee updates.

The next meeting of the Board of Trustees is scheduled for Tuesday, July 16 in Algona.