UWL SBDC celebrates 40 years

2018 UWL SBDC Small Business Breakfast.

UW-La Crosse Small Business Development Center is one of the original SBDCs in Wisconsin

The Wisconsin Small Business Development (SBDC) Network is celebrating its 40th anniversary in 2020 as one of the first SBDCs in the country

The UW-La Crosse Small Business Development Center is one of the original SBDCs in Wisconsin.

“The UW-La Crosse Small Business Development Center is proud to have worked with many area businesses over the past 40 years to help them start and grow,” notes Anne Hlavacka, director of the UWL SBDC. “The ability to access business technical support in starting and growing a company is important to the economic development of a region.”

U.S. Sen. Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin paved the way for the SBDC network to new and existing businesses by spearheading the Small Business Development Act of 1980.

Today, the Wisconsin SBDC Network’s no-cost, confidential consulting and business education are accessible to anyone anywhere across 13 locations. In 2019, the Wisconsin SBDC Network served 4,658 clients, resulting in $91.3 million in capital investment, 300 new businesses and 19,717 jobs supported.

In 2019, the UWL SBDC (serving seven counties – Buffalo, Jackson, Juneau, La Crosse, Monroe, Trempealeau, and Vernon) served 427 clients, resulting in $7.8 million in capital investment, 38 new businesses and 1,798 jobs supported. 

“Small businesses are the heart of our communities and economies,” said Bon Wikenheiser, state director. “We are grateful to be a trusted resource for business owners, whether they’re writing a business plan, looking for financing, exploring new markets, developing new products, ramping up their marketing or preparing to sell to the next generation.”

The University of Wisconsin System has hosted the Wisconsin SBDC since its inception, with the state’s first centers at UW-Eau Claire, UW-Green Bay, UWL, UW-Madison, UW-Milwaukee, UW-Oshkosh, UW-Parkside, UW-Platteville, UW-Stevens Point, UW-Superior and UW-Whitewater. This partnership, a financial match to U.S. Small Business Administration funding, has been integral to its success throughout its 40-year history.

“Our universities are proud partners of the SBDC network and know what a vital service it provides to businesses in our communities,” said UW System President Ray Cross. “Collaborating with Wisconsin’s SBDCs to help the state’s most innovative and creative entrepreneurs find success reflects UW System’s longstanding commitment to the Wisconsin Idea and our mission to serve the people of Wisconsin.”

An anniversary highlight will be March 18, the fourth annual SBDC Day, which celebrates the collective impact and success of SBDCs across the nation and in local communities. Small businesses, partners and advocates are invited to use the hashtag #SBDCDay and #SBDCsCelebrate40.

With nearly 1,000 locations across the country, SBDCs provide local businesses and entrepreneurs with the resources needed to succeed. In 2018, America’s SBDC clients experienced annual sales growth of 17.7 percent, almost 4.5 times more than the national average. SBDC assistance resulted in 99,194 jobs created; $7 billion in sales growth; $5.6 billion in capital investments; and 16,499 new businesses started.

“SBDC clients give their SBDCs 4.4 out of 5 stars, and 93 percent of SBDC clients recommend their SBDCs to other small businesses. With 40 years of expertise, proven ROI and stellar client ratings, it’s clear that America’s SBDCs are the nation’s most trusted small business resource.” said Charles “Tee” Rowe, President & CEO of America’s SBDC.

About the Wisconsin SBDC

The Wisconsin Small Business Development Center (SBDC) is a nationally accredited statewide network supporting entrepreneurs and business owners through no-cost, confidential consulting and business education. Regional SBDC experts facilitate improvement and growth for small and emerging mid-size companies and help launch successful new enterprises. The Wisconsin SBDC is hosted by the University of Wisconsin System Administration under the Institute for Business & Entrepreneurship.

About America’s SBDC

America’s SBDC represents the Nation’s 63 Small Business Development Centers, a national network of partnerships uniting higher education, state and local nonprofit economic development organizations, private enterprise and government. It is the Small Business Administration’s largest partnership program, providing management and technical assistance to help Americans start, run and grow their own businesses.

About the Small Business Administration

The U.S. Small Business Administration makes the American dream of business ownership a reality. As the only go-to resource and voice for small businesses backed by the strength of the federal government, the SBA empowers entrepreneurs and small business owners with the resources and support they need to start and grow their businesses. It delivers services to people through an extensive network of SBA field offices and partnerships with public and private organizations.

About UW System

The University of Wisconsin System serves approximately 170,000 students. Awarding nearly 37,000 degrees annually, the UW System is Wisconsin’s talent pipeline, putting graduates in position to increase their earning power, contribute to their communities, and make Wisconsin a better place to live. More than 80 percent of in-state UW System graduates stay in Wisconsin five years after earning a degree. The UW System provides a 23:1 return on state investment. UW System institutions also contribute to the richness of Wisconsin’s culture and economy with groundbreaking research, new companies and patents, and boundless creative intellectual energy.