SBDC links Dominican with small business community

A new partnership with the Marin Small Business Development Center (SBDC) will extend Dominican’s reach into Marin’s business community and expand opportunities for business students to gain hands-on experiences that will connect their classroom learning with real world business challenges.

Dominican’s Barowsky School of Business (BSB) is hosting the Marin SBDC, a nonprofit organization that provides expert no-cost advising and low-cost workshops to guide small business growth. The collaboration was recently highlighted in a Marin Independent Journal story.

The Marin SBDC is one of 12 centers in the Northern California SBDC network, partially funded by the Small Business Administration. The Marin SBDC provides free advising to businesses with fewer than 100 employees. It works with all industries and assists businesses at every stage, from startup to growth to being sold. The Marin SBDC’s team of advisors specialize in many areas of business development, including e-commerce, angel investing, loans, financial strategies, marketing/social media, HR and CEO/management planning.

Hosting SBDC will benefit both Dominican faculty and students, says Dr. Sam Beldona, dean of the Barowsky School of Business.

“There will be many opportunities for students to gain hands-on experiences, including internships, with SBDC’s client companies, and our faculty will be able to work with companies on case studies, class projects, and other research projects.”

A team of undergraduate students recently worked with Inklaat Insoles, a Mill Valley company that has launched a product line of decorative machine washable insoles that provide long lasting foot and shoe odor control. The students worked with the company owner on a project focused on marketing the product to its target audience.

SBDC also reached out to local businesses to work with MBA students participating in Dominican’s MBA Boot Camp. This three-day student orientation features exercises in live business cases, sessions for preparation on business presentations and consulting practices, and a leadership and special team-building project.

“We are an avenue for Dominican to get more connected with the local business community, and this will help the students better understand real challenges and problems it takes to run a business,” says Miriam Hope Karell, SBDC director.

Throughout the year, Karell and her team of 12 SBDC advisors will identify internship opportunities for BSB’s undergraduate and MBA students with SBDC client companies.

Marin SBDC has helped to launch 130 businesses since opening in 2013. From 2013-2016, SBDC has served more than 745 businesses and helped to create or retain more than 700 local jobs. More than half of the SBDC’s clients are women-owned businesses, while about 40 percent are minority-owned businesses. Current clients include Inkblaat Insoles, Mill Valley Dermatology, All Season Soccer, Senior Settlers, Delicious Catering and Pelo Fitness.

“Running a business is very challenging and it’s impossible to know everything. Many of our clients know their specialty but are bound to run into questions they cannot answer. This is where our expert team comes in to make sure that business stays growing,” Karell says. “We are the only resource in Marin that directly supports small businesses in this way,” she adds. “Companies would have to pay thousands of dollars for these services, but we offer this all at no cost.”


August 17, 2017