The goal? Help Iowa thrive
15 Apr 2018
The overwhelming majority of businesses in the Hawkeye State are small business — those with fewer than 500 employees. According to Debi Durham, director of the Iowa Economic Development Authority, 97 percent of Iowa’s businesses fall into that category. Not only in Iowa, but also all across the United States small businesses are a vital part of our nation’s economy.
Since 1981, a network of Small Business Development Centers known as America’s SBDC has helped small businesses get started and learn how to thrive. America’s SBDC Iowa is our state’s participant in that nationwide program.
In this part of Iowa, a regional component of SBDC Iowa — North Central Iowa Small Development Center — has an office in Fort Dodge as part of the Iowa State University Extension complex at Crossroads Mall. The regional director is Kimberly Tiefenthaler. She serves clients in 12 counties.
An important part of the mission of NCI SBDC is helping entrepreneurs turn ideas for new businesses into operational realities. There is, however, more to the story.
“We have a very large role with entrepreneurs as far startup businesses,” Tiefenthaler said. “We also have a large focus on existing businesses. In our rural communities and in the region that I serve retaining businesses is important. There is a large focus on existing businesses — on retaining those businesses and retaining the employees that they have.”
Getting a new business launched can be an intimidating process for a potential owner. Making it less so is at the heart of the assistance NCI SBDC provides.
“The majority of people are somewhat aware of what they must do and overwhelmed by what is needed,” Tiefenthaler said. “That’s where we come in, taking away that feeling of being overwhelmed.”
The assistance available is tailored to each client’s situation.