04 November 2011
By Dr. Scott Taylor, Small Business Management
SCC’s Oldest Full-Time Student Chooses SB
The city of Braham, MN (pop. 1,276) is located straight north of the Twin Cities at the P.I.N.E. intersection of four counties (Pine, Isanti, Chisago and Kanabec.) It’s a region of declining resources, rural poverty and tenacious residents. Two years ago, Tusen Tack (the local thrift store named after the Swedish expression “Thousand Thanks”) decided to raise money for a much-needed community center. Its leader, Dorothy Johnson, 81, gathered her friends and all applied for grants, loans and gifts. They baked pies, washed cars and sold used clothing. It all worked. Of the $1.7 million needed to construct the center, the “task force” raised $1.2 million. The remaining $800,000 will come in the form of a loan. They hope to break ground early next spring.
When they came up for air after a flurry of fundraising efforts, they looked at each other and asked: Do any of us know how to run a community center? Not enough was their conclusion. So, the executive committee enrolled in the SBM program and Dorothy became South Central College’s oldest full-time student (to the best of our records)! “We’ve got to get this regional community center built and running. At the beginning, our committee will be the ones running this thing and it sure would be good to know how!” she said with enthusiasm.
Shortly after signing up, Dorothy invited fellow student Patty Lind and Scott Taylor, their SBM/Minnesota Mentor, to make a presentation before the Minnesota Senate finance committee that was reviewing bonding requests. “The proposed community center will need sewer and water brought to the site. A $225,000 bond would really help our efforts,” Patty said. Then Dorothy took the floor and made an impassioned plea for the funds. The clarity of her arguments and force of personality made quite an impression to all in attendance. New MnSCU chancellor, Dr. Steven Rosenstone, was in the audience and sought her out immediately after her testimony. “If you will come and appear before the legislature on behalf of MnSCU, I’LL get you the money you need for your project!” he offered.
Meanwhile, Dorothy and her team have made a three-year commitment to SCC’s Small Business Management program. “I look forward to graduating,” she said.
In other news, Duane Hoversten, Chad Oudekerk and Scott Taylor, launched a series of networking sessions in Waseca. The first was held in October at the Round Bank. Community members were invited to attend.
Faribault Executive Dialogue series also got under way under the tutelage of Scott Taylor. A group of 16 mid-sized businesses meets once a month to enhance their understanding of business skills. Organized by the Faribault Area Chamber of Commerce and Tourism, participants tour member businesses, engage in peer-to-peer learning and just recently bonded on Shattuck- St. Mary’s rope course.
Dan Sprague enhanced his offerings to MnDOT’s Disadvantaged Business Entrepreneur training with the addition of live/recorded webinars. “This addition to our capabilities helps our students anchor the learning in the classroom and apply it to their businesses,” he said.