By Dr. Scott Taylor, Small Business Management

Dr. Scott Taylor, Small Business Management

Minnesota Mentors

Over the summer, the Small Business Management departments of South Central, Minnesota West and Central Lakes worked together to bring entrepreneurial skills to more small business owners and managers. We’re calling our collaborative effort “Minnesota Mentors.” This word play allows us to be a noun (those who mentor,) and a verb (a program that mentors to business owners.)

In the past, Small Business Management was in large part based on tutorial learning. This fall, we’ve redesigned our delivery system into teaching via a hybrid format: content online, one-on-one mentoring over the phone/web, and group face-to-face classes for solving case studies and peer mentoring. This three-year program is called “SBM Core,” because we teach the core skills necessary for business success.

Small Business Management currently offers 12 courses online.

In the news: Dan Sprague is working with the Minnesota Department of Transportation on a transformative committee called The Collaborative. It advises MnDOT and the Minnesota Legislature on issues concerning highway construction projects using women- and minority-owned contractors. Dan is the chair of the subcommittee on civil rights training.

Dan is also making MnDOT contractors more competitive by teaching business development classes.

Scott Taylor and Duane Hoversten have been featured in the first wave of media coverage on our new initiative. Scott was seen on WCCO-TV answering Jason DeRusha queries in his “That’s a good question!” segment. Both Scott and Duane will be featured in an upcoming Star Tribune article on the launch of Minnesota Mentors. Watch the business section. These two are also teaching a ten-week FastTrac® series for entrepreneurs who want to vet their business ideas before opening the doors. SCC is the first college or university to teach the Kauffman Foundation’s FastTrac® New Venture curriculum online.

Chad Oudekerk launched a new series, “Marketing your business online.” He is also teaching another new offering: FastTrac® Growth Venture for businesses wanting to expand.

All SBM faculty are hosting a traveling workshop “Why Businesses Fail” in 17 communities in collaboration with the Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation. This forum helps businesses avoid common pitfalls and introduces them to the SBM Core program.