SBDC courses target entrepreneurs

Last updated on May 13th, 2019 at 02:32 pm

The University of Wisconsin-Whitewater’s Small Business Development Center (SBDC) is offering a range of fall courses to help entrepreneurs and small-business owners seeking business planning, financial management or marketing advice.
The Whitewater SBDC serves Walworth, Jefferson, Dodge, Rock and Waukesha counties.
The fall courses are taught by business professionals, UW-Whitewater faculty and SBDC staff.
"The first step" is a three-hour introduction to starting a business.
The course is offered once a month, and participants are asked to consider whether entrepreneurship fits their personality. They are given a chance to assess their strengths and weaknesses as a business owner, and facilitators stress the importance of writing a business plan, said Brian Pope, UW-Whitewater’s SBDC program director.
Accountants, lawyers, bankers, marketing professionals and UW-Whitewater faculty talk about what it’s like to manage a small business for the eight-session "small business fundamentals" program and the five-session "developing a business plan" program.
The entrepreneurial training series helps participants develop business plans.
Grants, which cover 75 percent the program cost of $1,000, are available through Wisconsin’s Department of Commerce. People can attend individual courses or go through the entire series.
"Each can be taken as a comprehensive group of classes or individually," Pope said.
The financial management series is taught by accounting firm representatives. In six half-day sessions, participants learn how to understand and use financial information.
"The first four modules are the basic areas needed to be covered when you are running a small business," Pope said. The last two courses, however, teach participants how to use QuickBooks accounting software.
"The greatest benefit of attending the financial management series was the opportunity to listen to professionals with current experiences," said Eric Lawton, general manager of Badger Grain Co. "It helped me understand more of what my CPA was doing and gave me the knowledge to ask more relevant questions regarding my financials."
The marketing for success series is also taught by professionals, Pope said. Some topics included in the series are "Tying Customer Knowledge to a Better Bottom Line" and "Guerilla Tactics in Promotion & Publicity."
"These were the topics we came up with after interviewing small-business owners," Pope said.
At UW-Whitewater, the SBDC also has a specialty center called the Wisconsin Innovation Service Center, which provides marketing research for product feasibility studies and licensed partner searches, Pope said.
"There is only one like it in the state, even in the country," Pope said.
The 2004 Ideas to Profits Conference will be held at the Whitewater SBDC Oct. 1-2.
Twenty to 30 speakers will discuss product development for inventors and manufacturing companies.
In addition to courses and conferences, UW-Whitewater’s SBDC offers free counseling. A service called "Ask SBDC" enables people to e-mail SBDC staff with specific questions.
August 20, 2004, Small Business Times, Milwaukee, WI

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Andrew is the editor of BizTimes Milwaukee. He joined BizTimes in 2003, serving as managing editor and real estate reporter for 11 years. A University of Wisconsin-Madison graduate, he is a lifelong resident of the state. He lives in Muskego with his wife, Seng, their son, Zach, and their dog, Hokey. He is an avid sports fan and is a member of the Muskego Athletic Association board of directors.

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