AMES, Iowa – Healthy communities need vibrant small businesses, according to Jim Patton, director for Iowa State University Extension’s Region 7, covering Hamilton, Humboldt, Webster and Wright counties.
Patton’s view of community reaches far beyond town, city or county borders; he’s talking about the regional community. In Region 7, ISU Extension is partnering with the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) to stretch that community border region-wide.
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The area’s SBDC is housed in the Webster County Extension office, where Patton also is headquartered. That connection led to the SBDC securing a grant to set up a reference library in the extension office in each of the four counties in Region 7. Each library has 58 manuals, specific to small business type.
“With the layoffs of Electrolux in Hamilton County, we’ve had a lot of interest. We’ve had as many as five or six of these manuals checked out weekly,” Patton said. Each library also includes a conference area, and SBDC staff members are setting up regular times to meet with clients in each office.
To maximize the partnership, ISU Extension and SBDC also are developing succession planning workshops for small business sellers and buyers, and other small business education programs.
Patton is one of 20 regional extension education directors. The positions were created a year ago as part of ISU Extension’s restructuring plan to facilitate an issue-based approach to delivering ISU Extension programming and resources. Patton works directly with county extension council members to meet their legal obligations as an elected body. Together they are identifying new ways to work across county borders, provide educational programming that addresses significant issues and evaluate the results of multi-county and regional efforts.
To learn more about ISU Extension programs, contact Patton at 515-576-2119 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit the ISU Extension website, www.extension.iastate.edu.
Laura Sternweis, Extension Communications and External Relations, 515-294-0775,