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Professional Business Consulting Services

Small Business Development Center

Providing Expert Advice for Emerging Small Businesses

The University of St. Thomas Small Business Development Center (SBDC) provides free, confidential business consulting services and modestly-priced workshops to help established businesses and startups develop strategies to attract customers, increase sales and improve profitability.

Our business consultants are paid professionals with extensive, practical experience in marketing, finance, accounting, operations and business planning. Most have been business owners themselves and have advanced degrees.

The SBDC is part of the Schulze School of Entrepreneurship at the University of St. Thomas Opus College of Business. Since 1981, the SBDC has assisted more than 10,000 local businesses and entrepreneurs, and it continues to fulfill its mission of helping local companies grow and prosper.

The University of St. Thomas SBDC is funded by the University of St. Thomas, the U.S. Small Business Administration and the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development

Call or email the SBDC for more information.

Small Business Administration and Small Business Development Center logos

Contact

Mike Ryan

Director
Phone Number
(651) 962-4500

SBDC Services for Startup Businesses (Pre-Revenue)

A business team sitting and conversing in a meeting.

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Smart Start for Business Workshop

Your first step is to attend our monthly business startup workshop. In this three-hour program we discuss topics that all prospective business owners should understand such as:

  • Is there a need for your product or service?
  • Can you make money at it?
  • Are you and your team the right people to bring this to market?

Other topics include funding options for your business, marketing strategies, legal issues and the nuts-and-bolts of launching your new venture.

The fee for the Smart Start for Business workshop is $50 per business. You may have up to three individuals attend per business.

The next workshop is Wednesday, September 11, from 6 - 9 p.m.

Register Now
Two professionals talking.

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Business Plan Advising

Upon completion of the workshop, you may request a business consultant to guide you through the completion of your business plan. Consultations may continue for as long as the parties feel worthwhile progress is being made but may be limited by funding constraints or ongoing demand for SBDC services. There is no charge for this service.

SBDC Services for Established Businesses

Part-time MBA students work on a group project in the fishbowl in Schulze Hall on November 29, 2016, in Minneapolis.

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Business Consulting

For ongoing businesses, the SBDC offers free, confidential advice in marketing, finance, accounting, operations and business planning. Our goal is to help you develop strategies to attract customers, increase sales and improve profitability.

Requests for assistance are reviewed on a case-by-case basis. Consultations may continue for as long as the parties feel worthwhile progress is being made, but may be limited by funding constraints or ongoing demand for SBDC services.

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Client Eligibility & Engagements

Free business consultation services are available to individuals or companies starting or operating a Minnesota for-profit business that meets the SBA definition of a small business. (Approximately 98 percent of Minnesota’s businesses meet the SBA definition.)

SBDC workshops are open to the public.

Our clients are primarily located in the seven-county metro area of Anoka, Carver, Dakota, Hennepin, Ramsey, Scott and Washington Counties.

Requests for assistance are reviewed on a case-by-case basis. Consultations may continue for as long as the parties feel worthwhile progress is being made but may be limited by funding constraints or ongoing demand for SBDC services.

“There are times you move along well on your own and then you hit a bump in the road and need some help to make a decision. Every time we called the SBDC for help, the advice we got was very appropriate for where we were at that time. I look back since then and realize those were all good suggestions for our business.”

Cheryl Mohn, Udder Tech, Inc.

“I think it would have been a completely different experience without the help. Who knows how much time and energy and money might have been spent trying to get to the same place, if you could ever get there.”

Sarah Bazey, Simplex Construction Supplies, Inc.

Our Partners

U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA)

If you are in the early stages of planning your new venture, the U.S. Small Business Administration’s website is an excellent guide to the process.

Learn More About SBA

SCORE

SCORE provides free and confidential business counseling tailored to pre-venture and early stage businesses. SCORE also offers workshops for a modest fee for both startup entrepreneurs and small business owners.

Learn More About SCORE

Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (MDEED)

The MDEED’s “Guide to Starting a Business in Minnesota” publication is the most comprehensive reference of its kind and a must-read for anyone contemplating a startup or purchase of a business. Other in-depth guidebooks cover topics as employment law, e-commerce, securities offerings, franchising, debt financing, loan documentation and intellectual property protection.

Learn More About MDEED's Guidebook

LegalCORPS

LegalCORPS assists low-income owners of small businesses and small nonprofit organizations by connecting them with free, high-quality legal services from volunteer lawyers.

Learn More About LegalCORPS

Metropolitan Economic Development Association (MEDA)

The MEDA offers consulting, training, business planning, financial assistance and other services to businesses owned by ethnic minorities.

Learn More About MEDA

MN-SBIR

MN-SBIR serves as the state’s focal point to help technology-based entrepreneurs and innovators successfully access federal funding through the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Programs.

The University of St. Thomas SBDC is funded in part through a Cooperative Agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration, Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development and regional support partners. All opinions, conclusions or recommendations expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the program sponsors. Programs are open to the public on a nondiscriminatory basis. Reasonable accommodations for persons with disabilities will be made if requested at least two weeks in advance. Contact the Small Business Development Center at (651) 962-4500 to make arrangements.