Funds help SBDC meet deficit

Facing a shortfall between funding periods, the Small Business Development Center has received $13,000 in additional funds from the Iowa State University Extension and Outreach office.

The Fort Dodge SBDC is housed with the Webster County Extension and Outreach at the Crossroads Mall. Because the SBDC would be short in its funding, its office would have to shut down, Lisa Shimkat, SBDC director, said.

“We had gone to the (Extension) council to let them know we have a cut in our budget due to state and federal cut funding,” Shimkat said.

According to Jerry Chizek, Extension and Outreach Region 7 director, the council wanted to see the SBDC’s services continue.

“The Webster County Extension office felt the work done by the Small Business Development Center staff is important not only to Webster County, but the surrounding counties,” Chizek said. “It is important to our constituents, and we didn’t want to see any interruption of service.”

Extension and Outreach approved up to $13,000 to keep the office open through June.

“They were able to utilize their resources to keep our center open so we can continue working with clients who were getting ready to go to the banks and need market research and so on,” Shimkat said.

The SBDC has an unusual funding structure, according to Shimkat.

“Their year runs July through June. We have a state year and a federal year,” she said. “We’re hoping we can get by with not having to use all of that, so then we can look forward and see what we can do with continued funding from not only Extension and Outreach, but also we have some other great partners in the area that have stepped up to the plate to keep this service for their clients in this region.”

Among its services, the SBDC provides counseling to new businesses.

“As an example, we help new businesses if they’re looking to start up or just need some outreach to determine if there’s an actual market there for that product,” Shimkat said.

The SBDC also counsels existing businesses.

“We’ve had many of them that are looking to expand, so we work on bringing together their cash flow analysis, look at potential trends within their market and see how we can reach out, whether it’s tapping into another market to expand that service, or maybe they’re looking at a building expansion,” Shimkat said. “We help them put the figures together and all the paperwork they present to the bank.”

Shimkat said the assistance from ISU Extension and Outreach is “amazing.”

“It just shows the commitment they have to the community and this region, to really pull together, and we greatly appreciate it,” she said. “It’s been a partnership that has really grown and we look forward to many years ahead.”