Ellen Huber: Local resources for starting a business
Mandan is eager for new stores, restaurants and other businesses. Encouraging existing business people from within our community to consider an expansion or an additional venture is one way of meeting this demand. Another approach is recruiting businesses from outside of our community to establish a location in Mandan. Fostering new entrepreneurism is a third angle.
If you are tired of waiting for “someone else” to open the hardware store, clothing shop, bakery or restaurant that you envision for Mandan, consider doing it yourself. Local resources can help get you started:
• The Bismarck-Mandan SCORE Chapter and Small Business Administration routinely sponsor information workshops about starting and owning a small business. The workshops are planned on the third Wednesday of each month between now and March 17. Call the SCORE office at 328-5861 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for information and to register. Pre-registration is requested and there is a minimal cost covering fee for materials.
• The N.D. Small Business Development Center provides consultation and training on developing a business plan, financial analysis, finding the cash needed to start, sustain and grow a business, as well as marketing and sales assistance. Contact Nancy Krogen-Abel in the SBDC service center at the Bank of North Dakota, 1200 Memorial Highway, Bismarck, phone 328-5865. On the web at www.ndsbdc.org.
• The IDEA Center, or Incubator for Developing Entrepreneurial Activity, provides shared services and mentorship to move ideas along a path to commercialization. Tap into business professionals with experience in accounting, law, patenting, protyping, human resources, energy, education, networking, marketing, researching, journalism, financial analysis, information technology, engineering, strategic planning, business planning, and funding. Assistance is also provided by University of Mary business students. The IDEA Center is located at 2729 E Broadway, Bismarck. For more information, call 250-2198, ext. 7001, or go online to www.ideacenternd.org.
Another source of guidance is the U.S. Small Business Administration website: www.sba.gov/smallbusinessplanner. It covers topics such as writing a business plans, financing a business start-up, buying an existing business or franchise, choosing a business structure, obtaining licenses and permits, and managing a business including employees, marketing and other aspects.
Once you have developed a business plan and have a sense of the financing needed, it may be time to visit with a bank and realtor of your choosing.
Vehicular traffic may be a factor to consider in finding the optimum location for some types of businesses. The most recent car counts for highways and streets near and in Mandan can be found at: www.dot.nd.gov/road-map/traffic/index.htm.
When it comes to selecting a location, please contact the City of Mandan Business Development Office. In addition to a list of available properties, we can provide information on business assistance programs including property tax incentives for new and expanding businesses, Renaissance Zone, Storefront Improvement Program and possibly a new Retail and Restaurant Subsidization Program. Some programs are specific to downtown Mandan. Boundaries and other qualifying factors vary by program. Call 667-3485 or send an email to email@example.com.
Two additional local sources for business assistance are the Bismarck Mandan Development Association and the Lewis and Clark Regional Development Council.
BMDA serves as a matchmaker for industrial sites and available properties, job training services, and funding sources including the N.D. Development Fund, Dakota Certified Development Corporation, Bank of North Dakota programs, and more. Contact BMDA at 400 East Broadway Avenue, Suite 417, Bismarck, phone 222-5530, or on-line at www.bmda.org.
LCRDC serves a 10-county area including Morton by helping local governments, organizations, businesses and individuals access federal, state and other funding sources to enhance employment and business opportunities. The council manages two separate $1 million revolving loan pools for Mandan to assist with business start-ups, expansions and retention in the city and surrounding 10-mile radius within Morton County. Contact the LCRDC at 200 First Avenue NW, Mandan, phone 667-7620, or on-line at www.lewisandclarkrdc.org.
Take your idea and start today.