Have you heard of Small Business Development Centers? Missouri Small Business Development Centers (SBDC) provide one-on-one professional business counseling to Missouri businesses, assisting owners with every stage of growth. From concept to startup, growth to renewal, mature to succession. The SBDC’s business specialists have been helping Missouri business owners succeed at every stage in the business life cycle since 1982.

The University of Missouri Extension and Missouri SBDC have recently joined efforts to specifically provide support to agri-businesses through the uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic. MU Extension Agriculture and Environment specialists, MU Extension agricultural economists and Missouri SBDC have recently combined expertise and resources to better serve Missouri agriculture. The partnership is formally known as the Missouri SBDC for Agriculture, Food and Forestry.

Business counseling is available to producers and business owners at no cost. Counseling sessions are confidential and one-on-one. Some examples of counseling services include: startup assistance, help with drafting a business plan, financial counseling, including accounting and budgeting. Business counselors can also assist business owners with marketing and sales, succession planning, exporting, and e-commerce.

The Missouri SBDC also has the capacity to conduct trainings for new and existing clients. Training topics for new or emerging business owners may include business startup, business plans and financing. For those who have been in business for a while, trainings may include programs on understanding financials, cash flow management, tech commercialization, social media, and creating your businesses web presence.

Do you own an agri-business, or know someone who does? Someone that may benefit from the new agriculture SBDC services? Contact Jackie Spainhower at the Harrison County Extension Center to discuss your business needs. What if you don’t own a business related to agriculture, but feel you could benefit from traditional SBDC services? Jackie can still assist you by making a referral to one of our local SBDC offices. Regardless of the type of business you own, you can sign up to be contacted by a business counselor by contacting your local Extension office, local SBDC office, or by visiting them online at missouri.ecenterdirect.com.

University of Missouri Extension improves people’s lives with educational programs and access to University resources and experts to enhance economic viability; build strong individuals, families and communities; and create and sustain healthy environments. Extension programs address such high-priority areas as agriculture, livestock, and horticulture; nutrition and health; business and workforce; and community development.

Jackie Spainhower, County Engagement Specialist in Agriculture and Environment, may be reached at the Harrison County Extension Center, 660-425-6434, the Worth County Extension Center, 660-564-3363, or email spainhowerj@missouri.edu.