Wisconsin's Small Business Development Centers claim credit for helping more than 250 companies start up this year. The centers offer classes and counseling to small business owners, or to people who hope to open shop.
The data come from the fiscal year which for the SBDC ended on September 30. State Director Gayle Kugler says 2,200 people got one on one counseling sessions. She says most of them--60 percent--already own a business. The rest--40-percent--wanted advice on setting one up, "Do I need a license for what I do? Am I going to sell out of state? Should I form an LLC? Should I form a different kind of partnership? A lot of times they don't know what they don't know."
Two hundred fifty eight SBDC students took the plunge and started a business.
Kugler says the recession put the pinch on existing or would-be entrepreneurs. Class participation took a dip in 2008 and 2009, but picked up recently, "So I do think that people are more optimistic, I think the banks are more willing to lend money to the right businesses. I think in 2008-09 there was definitely a tightening of money to be lend. We saw a lot of our businesses were, they were developing their cash flow through credit cards as opposed to having a bank line of credit.
The SBDC operates as an arm of the UW Extension. There are twelve offices around the state, on university or technical college campuses.