Business Notes - Feb. 19

CAREER SBDC sees increased business growth The North Central Minnesota Small Business Development Center at Central Lakes College recently completed its 31st year of assisting small businesses and entrepreneurs in Minnesota. The SBDC provides inf...

Mary Devine Johnson
Mary Devine Johnson


SBDC sees increased business growth

The North Central Minnesota Small Business Development Center at Central Lakes College recently completed its 31st year of assisting small businesses and entrepreneurs in Minnesota. The SBDC provides information, training and consulting services to small business owners and prospective small business owners in an 11-county region of north central Minnesota. Most SBDC services are provided at no cost to qualified business owners and entrepreneurs with consulting expenses paid by grants and donations to the college. In 2016, the SBDC served 400 clients, assisted over 25 entrepreneurs in starting their business and helped small business owners raise $23 million in funding for business growth.

"There are great opportunities in this region for people to start and expand businesses," said Greg Bergman, director of the SBDC in a news release. "Many people here have great ideas and the work ethic needed to successfully start and nurture a business venture."

Working with local and regional partners, the SBDC's focus on business planning, financial management and access to financing has been expanded over the past year to include strategic management and planning assistance.


"Strategy planning is one of those things that a business owner tends to put off for too long," said Bergman. "Developing long-term plans not only helps the business owner focus on building value in their business, it helps retain the most productive employees who see a long-term future with their employer."

In 2017, the SBDC is expecting to see continuing interest in entrepreneurship in the region. To share more about its programs, the SBDC has scheduled an open house from 4-6 p.m. on March 22 at the Central Lakes College Business and Industry Center. For more information,

contact the SBDC at 218-855-8140 or .

Johnson joins Visit Brainerd

Mary Devine Johnson has joined Visit Brainerd as the executive director.

With more than 15 years of marketing communications experience in the professional services, higher education, nonprofit, consulting and advertising/media sectors, she brings a comprehensive skill-set to the position, the organization reported. Johnson previously worked for Spectrum Reach, Minnesota State Community and Technical College and Widseth Smith Nolting. She is also a long-standing member of the Brainerd Jaycees, a member of Brainerd Rotary, and has held board positions for several other community organizations.

Johnson has a master's degree and bachelor's degree in communications from the University of North Dakota.

Visit Brainerd promotes tourism in the Brainerd lakes area, which is funded through occupancy tax of hotels, RV park(s), and campgrounds within the city limits of Brainerd/Baxter. The organization's mission is to increase tourism to the Brainerd lakes area by marketing the area as a premier destination and to assist with year round attractions and new events in the Brainerd lakes area.


Applications sought for Bay Lake Lions scholarships

The Bay Lake Area Lions Club is awarding five $1,000.00 scholarships each to 2017 graduates of Crosby-Ironton and Aitkin High Schools. The scholarships are funded through the club's annual golf tournament held in July.

The scholarships will be given to college or vocational technical bound students. Scholarships will be awarded to students in their freshman or first year of higher education following acceptance into a full-time curriculum. Scholarships must be used within one year of being awarded.

Scholarships are awarded based on the applicant's involvement in school and community activities, determination to succeed in a chosen field and the need for financial assistance. Characteristics and attitudes that demonstrate the objectives of "Lionism" will be considered. Academic stand is not the sole determining factor in awarding these scholarships. However, students must meet the academic standards required for admittance to the chosen educational institution.

Students interested in the scholarships must submit an application, transcript of high school grades, sealed letters of recommendation from two instructors of the applicant's choice and/or high school counselor, and a 200-word essay outlining the student's goals and ambitions. Applicants must also be available for an interview with a Bay Lake Area Lions Scholarship committee member.

Applications are available in the high school guidance offices and must be returned to the Bay Lake Area Lions no later than April 1, 2017. Mail applications to Bay Lake Area Lions Charities, PO Box 556, Deerwood, MN 56444. For more information, call 218-678-9090.

Frandsen Bank & Trust gains honor for community involvement

The Minnesota Bankers Association recently recognized 24 Minnesota banks for their community involvement, including Frandsen Bank & Trust.


The Community Champion recognition program was created to to honor and recognize the involvement of banks and important and vital role they play in communities, the MBA stated.

MBA created

Frandsen Bank & Trust was one of the Community Champions that worked with hundreds

of organizations in their communities, providing funding, volunteers, materials, supplies, or food for their neighbors, MBA reported. Recipients of the recognition range in size from small community banks to large banks with multiple branches.

In total, these banks donated over $1.2 million to over 600 organizations including the American

Red Cross, Habitat for Humanity, United Way, Salvation Army, American Cancer Society, Ronald McDonald House, Special Olympics, Minnesota Business Venture, local schools, churches, and nonprofits. And 931 employees from these banks dedicated over 34,000 hours at variety of volunteer events or programs.

"This extraordinary level of volunteer participation by Minnesota banks demonstrates their deep commitment to the communities they serve," MBA President/CEO Joe Witt said in a news release. "In addition to providing the capital that helps families and local businesses thrive, the banking industry's record of supporting local programs is second to none. The MBA is pleased to recognize these 24 banks for their commitment to making a real difference in their local communities."

Little Falls Chamber to host annual meeting


LITTLE FALLS-The Little Falls Area Chamber of Commerce invites all chamber and community members to the chamber annual meeting Feb. 23 at the Falls Ballroom.

The featured entertainment for this event is Divas Through the Decades, a musical tribute.

Divas Through the Decades is a musical tribute to some of the most influential female vocalists in American pop music, featuring songs from the 40's, through today's current hits. The show features music made famous by various Divas including Tina Turner, Diana Ross and the Supremes, Celine Dion, Aretha Franklin, Gloria Estefan, Madonna, Beyoncé, Shania Twain, Taylor Swift, Carrie Underwood, and more. Tickets are $30 per person which includes the meal. For more information, call 320-632-5155 or via the chamber's website at .

The Dispatch welcomes business notes submissions via email to , or fax to 218-829-0211, mail to Brainerd Dispatch, P.O. Box 974, Brainerd, MN 56401 or use the drop-off box in the alley next to the Dispatch building on James Street. Questions are welcome to Renee Richardson at 218-855-5852.

More business notes may be part of the Business Extra section in Monday's edition.

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