Iowa Small Business Development Centers Request Funding Boost

By Katie Wiedemann, Reporter


By Jay Knoll

DUBUQUE, Iowa - The struggling economy has been hard on small business owners all over the U.S. It's also been hard on the Small Business Administration. That government funded organization helps people start new businesses. Locally, the SBA partners with Iowa Small Business Development Centers.

Karen Ohnesorg opened Dubuque Power Equipment six months ago.

"It was one of the businesses that I found that I thought, ok these numbers work," Ohnesorg said. "They're right. We can make a go of this."

Ohnesorg was only working a few months per year at another job in the construction industry, so she decided to start her own business, but didn't know where to begin.

"You don't go to the Olympics without a coach. They are like the coach of the business world if you want to make sure you are doing things right.," Ohnesorg said.

She didn't need money to get started, she needed a business plan. So she hooked up with Iowa Small Business Development Centers.

"We look at alternative finances. What grants are out there? what other programs are out there," Regional Director Terry Sullivan said.

Sullivan says he is working on a tight budget. He says they need more state and federal funds to help get more small businesses started.

"Through the services we provide we generate more tax revenue than what's actually spent on us. It's a win-win situation for (the state and federal government) to finance us," Sullivan said.

As for Ohnesorg, she says she couldn't have opened her business without the SBDC Now she's just hoping to gain more customers.

"We're alive" she joked. "It's hard to say right now, but we are still open," Ohnesorg said.

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