The southwest Michigan Small Business Development Center, hosted at Western Michigan University in the Haworth College of Business, strives to develop and maintain a comprehensive small business assistance program that provides counseling, training and secondary research services to promote business start-up, growth, innovation and product diversification to the seven counties it serves in Michigan.
Every year, the center works with more than 500 small business clients interested in determining the feasibility, profitability and accessing funding sources for their business ventures. In addition, the center assists University personnel and students in commercializing products and services, gaining access to assistance or submitting grant applications and promoting the various business plan competitions around the state.
The SBDC also strives to strengthen its long-term partnership with the Haworth College of Business by actively engaging with the college, WMU Business Connection and WMU Starting Gate, and working with faculty in their endeavors to expand entrepreneurship throughout the University. The center meets with Starting Gate participants in a business-consulting role and offers classes specifically designed for the business accelerator program.
In 2013, the SBDC assisted its clients in accessing more than $30 million in capital, starting 41 new business ventures, creating more than 150 new jobs and increasing sales in excess of $7 million.
In order to offer the vast array of services provided through the center, funding is provided by both the U.S. Small Business Administration and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation.