When Moberly Area Community College openedits Entrepreneurship and Business Development Center (EBDC) in early 2009 after a three-year planning and renovation process, administrators were excited to offer a new resource to the community. MACC administrators weren't the only ones excited though. The ribbon was barely cut before the Missouri State Small Business and Technology Development Center at University of Missouri Extension (MO SBTDC) approached MACC with a partnership idea. The SBTDC would partner with the EBDC to create a comprehensive resource for Northeast Missouri. The match was a perfect fit, doubling the Center's offerings and filling a hole in the SBTDC's service region. An added distinction is that it is the only SBTDC located on a community college campus in Missouri.
The partnership between MACC, MU Extension and the SBTDC will have a positive effect on northeast Missouri in a number of ways. MACC offers local relationships through its Workforce and Technical Education programs. The SBTDC is supplying the personnel to help staff the Center as well as networking opportunities, and MU Extension is providing all of the resources that MU offers (training, software, networks, etc.) It's the best of each world all located under one roof.
"For the community and our customers, it brings a multitude of resources MACC could never hope to duplicate on its own,” said EBDC Director Terry Hughes. "In today's economy, partnerships are necessary to broaden scarce resources and to more effectively provide services. Since the SBTDC is integrally tied to MU Extension, our customers have access to these resources. The SBTDCs have a nationwide network of centers and staff with various business expertise. They can help with many of the needs facing businesses today.”
SBTDC Business Development Specialist Chris Shoemaker bases out of the EBDC several days a week. He understands SBTDC counseling and resources, which allows the Center to begin SBTDC counseling, accessing the wealth of products it brings to the community. Shoemaker's presence is also a huge asset in the training of EBDC staff.
"MO SBTDC is excited about the collaboration between the EBDC and MU Extension,” said Shoemaker. "This joint venture will greatly enhance the needed resources for small businesses in the Northeast Region of Missouri, since MACC serves the same counties of the Northeast Region.”
The role of the EBDC to promote entrepreneurship and assist individuals and businesses with start-up and business operations dovetails perfectly with the SBTDC, which also helps businesses at every stage from concept to start-up, growth to renewal, mature to succession. The partnership offers professional business analysis, business consultations, networking, referral services, counseling and business education seminars. The EBDC is also home to a SCORE chapter of working and retired business executives who support new entrepreneurs with developing ideas, writing business plans, and obtaining business loans. Add on the opportunity for office incubator space complete with secretarial and mentoring services, and access to office equipment available at a nominal rate to entrepreneurs in the start-up phase, and you have virtually everything needed to start and grow a rural business.
With the nationwide averages of growth indicating that only 1 percent of new jobs come from companies moving into an area, 55 percent from existing businesses expanding, and 44 percent from new business start-ups, now is the perfect time for the MACC Entrepreneurship and Business Development Center to make an impact on northeast Missouri's economy.