Greetings and Happy October!
From all of us at the North Dakota Small Business Development Network (ND SBDC, ND PTAC, and VBOC of the Dakotas), we hope that you have been safe and healthy since our last communication and that you were able to enjoy the beautiful fall weather before winter came knocking! Over the past few months we’ve highlighted our skilled staff and our federal-level partners.
However, there is one more incredibly important part of our team – you, our stakeholders and local partners! Networks like ours depend on our relationships with federal, state, regional, and local partners, and we see the strongest impacts and involvement from those who we work with directly. We fully recognize how much we depend on all of you to operate and serve small business in North Dakota, but we like to think that none of you leave the partnership empty handed. Take a look at all of our state and local partners and how we make our relationships and partnerships a win-win for everyone.
The ND SBDC Network partners with educational institutions across the state. Our Lead Center has been located at the University of North Dakota since the inception of the ND SBDC Network back in 1986. We are currently partnered with NDSU Research and Technology Park and Williston State College. The institutions support service center operations through financial commitments in addition to connecting our staff with faculty to research small business in North Dakota. Our program assists higher education by providing students with internships and experiential learning opportunities for North Dakota’s future entrepreneurs and small business owners.
We work with lenders from financial institutions and other lending organizations to ensure our state’s small businesses receive financing packages that are right for them. Often, lenders are a great referral source for our program, sending business owners and entrepreneurs to our professional business advisors where we assist them in preparing strong business plans and accurate financial projections that lenders and their institutions can trust and rely upon. This allows lenders to confidently approve a financing package for the client; this referral system has become very effective over the years.
Through our partnerships with economic development organizations around the state, which include but are not limited to job development associations, regional councils, and local economic development corporations, etc., we help to build local communities by building up local businesses. Economic developers often assist our regional offices with funding, by hosting a service center, by helping us put on development programs and workshops, and by referring clients to us.
The State of North Dakota
As a federal, state, and locally funded program, our relationship with the state of North Dakota is integral to our efforts to support our small businesses. We are a close partner with the North Dakota Department of Commerce and the Main Street Initiative. Our program is partially funded by North Dakota state dollars under the Commerce Partner Programs budget line that is voted on by the legislature every biennium. The Department of Commerce is North Dakota’s “Lead agency charged with growing our state and improving the quality of life for our people,” through tourism, economic development, workforce development, and community services. Thus, our goals align. When the state and Commerce fund and support the ND SBDC and ND PTAC programs and our mission, we are able to augment their goals of economic development and workforce development. We have the boots on the ground everyday as we work with clients to start and grow businesses that create jobs and we have significant economic impacts on our communities because of that hands-on approach.
Local Counties & Cities
On the more local level, counties and cities and their governments have always been very important supporters of the ND SBDC, and vice versa. Funding and support provided by local governments keeps our centers located close to the businesses that need our services, which in turn strengthens these businesses, the community, city and county, and assists in increasing their tax base. When our clients start and grow their businesses, communities see a return on their investment in the ND SBDC in the form of tax revenues generated by these local small businesses and in the vitality of their community.
You support us, we support you, and we all support the incredible small businesses in North Dakota. We see all of the work done by you, our stakeholders and partners, and we are very appreciative of your efforts and our partnerships that allow us to serve small businesses owners and entrepreneurs across the state. Because of your investments and support for the ND Small Business Development Network, we are able to provide no-cost business advising to over 1,000 clients each year, resulting in strong and stable local economies. Together, we are team North Dakota, and we couldn’t do it without you.
As always, we look forward to continuing to work with you, and serve you in the future – for all of the reasons listed above and more.
Tiffany Ford, State Director
And all the Staff of the ND Small Business Development Network