Smart Start workshop set for Jewell

Entrepreneurs, business owners invited to attend

Hamilton County residents who are thinking about starting their own business are invited to attend a special workshop being offered in Jewell on Wednesday, Nov. 13.

The Smart Start session, presented by the North Central Iowa Small Business Development Center, will be held at the Montgomery Memorial Library in Jewell from 6 to 8:30 p.m. The Hamilton County Supervisors are sponsoring a special incentive to those who register early for the workshop. According to Supervisor Rick Young, the first 10 registrants can attend the class free of charge.

“It’s a small investment for the return we could get back to the communities in Hamilton County,” Young said. The registration cost is $35.

Young said the idea for the workshop grew out of a meeting held at the Briggs Woods Conference Center earlier this year in which attendees identified the county’s top economic development needs. The top five concerns identified were workforce development and childcare, affordable housing, downtown development, business retention and expansion, and entrepreneurial development.

To assist with the last two topics identified, Young was pointed to the Small Business Development Center.

“We found that that was a perfect match,” he said.

Kimberly Tiefenthaler, regional director for the North Central Iowa Small Business Development Center, said the workshop is for potential entrepreneurs who would like to start a business and who would like basic, foundational information. She said the evening would include discussions on sole proprietorships versus limited liability corporations, how to pull together financial and accounting information, and how to get started with marketing.

“We want to make sure that we can get the resources in their hands and provide them with some good, solid information so it’s less overwhelming,” Tiefenthaler said. Those attending the session will take a packet of information that will be covered during the workshop, a list of links to online resources and a flash drive with business plan templates, a business planning guide and cash-flow project worksheets

“We also want to give them an opportunity for the follow-up after that,” Tiefenthaler said.

She said for those who wish to move forward with their business plans, the SBDC can provide free one-on-one consulting. In the private setting, entrepreneurs can ask more specific questions that pertain to their type of business.

According to Tiefenthaler, the mission of the SBDC nationwide is to provide free, confidential assistance to entrepreneurs and existing businesses.

“They can contact the SBDC office in Fort Dodge and set up an appointment,” Tiefenthaler said. “And we begin that journey of stepping through the process ­- what does it look like to start a business.”

The business is not always a traditional, brick and mortar establishment. Many times, it’s a home-based business.

“Sometimes, it’s an entrepreneur who has developed some technology or a widget. Sometimes they want to develop that and bring it to commercialization,” she said.

Tiefenthaler said Iowa Central Community College has been a major partner with the SBDC.

“They’ve been instrumental in making sure that we’re involved with things that make sense with Business and Community Outreach, offering trainings and getting information in the hands of entrepreneurs and business owners,” she said.

She works with Amy Pingel, Iowa Central community education assistant director, and offers a variety of opportunities, resources and trainings to entrepreneurs and existing business owners, such as QuickBooks, Facebook and Instagram marketing and others.

Pingel said one of her primary goals is to do outreach in the communities the college serves. She partners with other entities, such as boards of supervisors, chambers of commerce and economic development offices to identify and address workforce needs within those communities.

“Over the past couple of years, Iowa Central and the North Central Iowa Small Business Development Center have developed a great collaborative relationship. Our missions are very similar in terms of what we’re trying to do to help serve the residents in our communities,” Pingel said.

“The Smart Start workshop is a great example of the collaboration between all of our entities,” she said.

Pingel said those wishing to register for the Smart Start workshop on Nov. 13 can call Iowa Central at (515) 574-1293, or call the Hamilton County Supervisors office, (515) 832-9530.

For more information on the North Central Iowa Small Business Development Center, call (515) 574-6242.