Center lauded for supporting region's small business community

Contact: Samantha Hooker
Photo of Tamara Davis holding a plaque.

Tamara Davis

KALAMAZOO, Mich.—The Southwest Michigan Small Business Development Center at Western Michigan University, located within the Haworth College of Business, was selected to receive the U.S. Small Business Administration's Michigan Small Business Development Center Excellence and Innovation Award. The prestigious award recognizes excellence in providing value to small businesses and advancing program delivery and management, and it was presented in front of a crowd of more than 700 guests at the 15th Annual Michigan Celebrates Small Business Awards Dinner on May 8 in East Lansing.

Tamara Davis, regional director of the center, notes the significance of the recognition. She credits the efforts of team members Lincoln Crocker, Lori Puzevic and John Schmitt for continually elevating the center to greater heights.

"This award is a culmination of a decade of service offered by the Southwest Michigan SBDC at Western Michigan University," she says. "Thousands of small businesses have been positively affected by the assistance provided by this office, thanks to the tremendous work and energy the team gives in assisting our region’s small business community."

To Davis, small business success is a critical part of a thriving local economy. The importance of the valuable services the center provides to small businesses cannot be overstated. In 2018, the staff at the center devoted 2,600 counseling hours to assisting 420 clients, helping small businesses generate more than $3.2 million in new sales and creating or retaining 541 jobs. The center was also able to connect local companies to more than $34 million in capital infusion.

"More than half of all Americans either own or work for a small business," she explains. "And small business creates about two out of every three new jobs in the United States each year."

Dr. Satish Deshpande, dean of the Haworth College of Business, lauds Davis and her team.

"The Small Business Development Center is an asset to the University and our community," he says. "The partnership between WMU and Kalamazoo's small businesses is a wonderful fit for all involved. The Haworth College of Business is proud to house such an important resource for Southwest Michigan."

The Southwest Michigan Small Business Development Center

The Southwest Michigan Small Business Development Center is a partnership program supported by the U.S. Small Business Administration, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation and WMU. The center provides entrepreneurial development assistance, training programs and high-end business consulting to existing businesses and start-up ventures in seven counties.

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