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UW-Madison’s Small Business Development Center Helps Grow Local Businesses, Jobs, and Communities

By Wisconsin School of Business

February 27, 2015

272 businesses served, 13 business starts made possible, 102 new jobs created, and over $9M in capital invested in client firms in 2014

The Small Business Development Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Wisconsin School of Business released its 2014 annual report today, highlighting its efforts to promote business development and job growth in Dane, Columbia, and Sauk counties.


In calendar year 2014, the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) assisted 272 clients, helped 13 new businesses get started, and saw 102 new jobs created by client businesses. During that same time, SBDC client businesses obtained and invested just over $9 million in capital into their firms to help start or grow their enterprise.

“Every year, people come to us for help with vital management functions—obtaining financing, and managing their finances, human resources, general operations, sales and marketing, and developing a business plan,” said Neil Lerner, SBDC program director at the Wisconsin School of Business. “We provide education guidance, referrals, and advice to help people build the skills they need to start, manage, and grow a business.”

Among the individual business success stories highlighted in the report are:

  • Floclaire LLC A natural skin care products company whose owner graduated from the SBDC Entrepreneurial Training Program, where he developed a business plan to obtain financing and expand his business.
  • MobCraft Beer A small craft brewery whose owner was an SBDC consulting client who received assistance in creating a business plan and addressing human resource issues during an expansion. The plan took first place in the 2014 Governor’s Business Plan Competition in the Advanced Manufacturing category.
  • Maes Consulting Group A software consulting business whose owner graduated from the SBDC Entrepreneurial Training Program with a business plan that redefined the strategic direction of the firm and led to a successful expansion.
  • Thunderbird Engineering A Native American-owned firm providing infrastructure engineering and design in HVAC, plumbing, fire protection, electrical, and construction. The owner was an SBDC consulting client who received business plan assistance to finance the purchase of the company from a previous owner.

In 2014, nearly 2,000 people took advantage of the SBDC’s free Wisconsin Business Answerline service. This free statewide small business hotline is staffed by experienced business owners and consultants who provide answers to a range of questions. Small businesses can contact 1-800-940-7232 for assistance Monday-Thursday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. or submit a question online at

Businesses seeking consulting assistance or more information about the classes and programs offered by the SBDC can contact (608) 263-7680 or visit

The SBDC at UW-Madison is part of an accredited Wisconsin network of 12 centers located at four-year UW campuses.  Wisconsin SBDCs are funded and managed in collaboration with UW-Extension and are part of a national network of nearly 1,000 centers.

The full SBDC annual report is available.