Talk to any number of prospective entrepreneurs and existing small businesses, and they will tell you that finding money to support their business idea can be a daunting challenge.
But in southeast Missouri, there is someone to help with the process.
The Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at Southeast Missouri State University in Cape Girardeau was recently recognized by the Missouri Business Development Program of the University of Missouri for outstanding performance in helping its small business clients acquire financing for their business.
Specifically, the award, which was presented at the Business Development Program’s annual meeting in Jefferson City Feb. 9, acknowledges the center’s efforts to help clients obtain loans, venture capital or other types of investments in their start-up or existing companies.
Buz Sutherland, director of the Small Business Development Center at Southeast, said the state office of the Missouri Business Development Program collects data based on input from SBDCs around the state in selecting the recipient of the award. He said awards are presented for excellence in sales, procurement contracts, jobs created and investment.
He said the SBDC’s success in helping clients acquire financing for their business is, in part, due to the relationship the SBDC has built with the banking community in southeast Missouri. He said the SBDC’s relationship with the Small Business Administration also was considered.
“We developed a very good working relationship with the banking community in southeast Missouri,” Sutherland said. “Bankers are probably our single largest referral network. Most of the banks and commercial lenders in the region are aware of our services and refer clients to us. The banks also know we’ll help them with loan packages and a business plan acceptable to the bank.”
Sutherland said the SBDC is pleased to be honored with this award.
“We’re excited about it,” he said. “To be recognized among our peers on a statewide basis is reinforcement that we’re helping small business in southeast Missouri, and that’s what we live for.”
Southeast Missouri State University holds a contract from the University of Missouri for the operation of the SBDC program in Southeast Missouri. The Cape Girardeau center is one of a network of nine SBDCs in Missouri. The SBDC program is funded by a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration. Services include individualized counseling and educational offerings on a variety of small business issues, including financing, management and marketing.
For more information on the SBDC and its services, call (573) 986-6084.