MCC may host business center

Small Business Development Center moving from Colstrip

The Small Business Development Center (SBDC) in Colstrip is moving to Miles City, and Miles Community College (MCC) may be its new home.

According to MCC President Stacy Klippenstein, college officials are working with SBDC on a contract for MCC to become the host location.

During Monday’s Miles Community College Board of Trustees meeting SBDC State Director Chad Moore updated the board on his organization, and what MCC’s responsibilities would be as host. 

According to Moore, the move comes down to logistics, location and being able to serve all of eastern Montan. Colstrip wasn’t centrally located, making it difficult for some clients to travel to the center. Miles City is centrally located in the nine-county southeastern region.

Once a contract is signed, the college will search for a regional director, who would be an employee of the college under contract to meet SBDC’s mission and goals. John Sisson was the SBDC director through 2016..

The contract would be a year-to-year commitment that would run January to December, Moore said. 

The partnership would cost MCC $25,000 to $35,000 per year, said Moore.

According to Klippenstein, the college is working on finding other funding sources so they wouldn’t need to allocate money from the general fund. 

Klippenstein said the partnership offers a lot of benefits for MCC.

“Some of the benefits include a valuable small business developer in Miles City, expertise on campus, new and revitalized small business training, strong connection with MCAEDC and SEMDC, and more visibility of MCC and what we have to offer,” Klippenstein wrote in an email tp the Star. “We are excited about this opportunity to help serve this region of Montana.”

The MCC board didn’t need to take any formal action. The presentation was to familiarize the board with SBDC and make sure members felt comfortable. 

According to Rebecca Ziegler, SBDC marketing and public relations specialist, SBDC approached MCC about the opportunity. 

“MCC’s educational opportunities and desire to develop their region’s workforces is a natural fit for our program. This is a real partnership with MCC to grow economic development in southeastern Montana,” Ziegler said in an email. “Together, we will provide more access for business development resources to entrepreneurs, supporting the entire region and strengthening the economy.”

The SBDC was created in 1989 to offer free one-on-one advising to business entrepreneurs. It offers financial analysis, business planning, operations assistance, marketing and social media assistance, training, loan packaging assistance and entrepreneurial development.

They are funded in-part through an agreement with the Montana Department of Commerce and U.S. Small Business Administration. 

(Contact Ashley Roness at starnews@midrivers.com.)