UWSP group speaks at New London town meeting
by Robert Cloud
Representatives from the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) spoke to the New London Economic Development Committee on Tuesday, October 25th.
Patrick Gatterman, the center’s director, said SBDC has offices on every University of Wisconsin campus in the state.
He is affiliated with the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point.
SBCD helps small business owners develop business plans, for startups, company expansion or moving into new markets.
Although Gatterman described business plans as “our bread and butter,” he said SBDC is better known for its business classes and entrepreneur training programs.
SBDC offers in-person classes on hiring strategies and online classes on digital marketing strategies, first steps to starting a small business, quickbooks, tax seminars and how to get financing.
Gatterman said the three-person team in Stevens Point provides training and advice for small business owners, whether they’re providing a service such as walking dogs or planning to build a multimillion-dollar expansion.
April Kopitzke, executive director of the New London Chamber of Commerce, told the committee, “SBDC is my first resource if I can’t help a business and they have a question about financing or their business plan.”
She said she recommends SBDC as a resource for people who may be starting new businesses or looking to expand.
City Administrator Chad Haert asked Guterman about 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 startups and more economic growth.
Another issue that Gatterman addressed is the growing need for affordable space and shared rental-based resources.
He said entrepreneurs who have kitchen-based in-home businesses or food trucks are looking for kitchen space, but not restaurant space.
Gatterman noted that if they could share kitchen resources, as well as shipping and receiving docks and services, they could grow their businesses.
He also noted that as commercial space becomes less available, local cities can reinvent the “incubator” model of the 1980s, where office-based businesses shared space in renovated 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.