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Center for businesses will close

SBDC services will shift to classroom

Colorado Northwestern Community College is closing the Craig Small Business Development Center as a cost-cutting measure, but services still will be available as part of small-business classes.

The classes will be offered starting at the end of January when the center closes.

The Small Business Development Center is funded with $40,000 from the local mill levy, $17,500 from CNCC and $38,000 from the state to serve five Northwest Colorado communities.



By closing the center and offering the services as a four-credit college course, CNCC stands to save what it contributes and generate additional revenue because the state reimburses the college for credited classes.

The move is a combined effort to save money and avoid duplicating services, CNCC Vice President Dean Hollenbeck said



“What we’re seeing is a lot of duplication as some of the communities we serve are starting economic development groups,” he said.

The SBDC works primarily with new businesses, teaching owners what steps need to be taken to start a new business and letting them know their options for funding that business. The SBDC offers free one-on-one small-business counseling and can help small businesses apply for U.S. Small Business Administration loans or other assistance programs.

Through its small-business classes, the first part will be taken care of. Hollenbeck hopes by the end of January, a plan will be in place that picks up the remainder of services that will be lost when the two-person office closes.

Fran Dibartolo, current director of the SBDC, will be teaching the courses, which Moffat County residents can take for free using existing tuition scholarships.

“We just want to do the best job we can working with businesses in Northwest Colorado,” Hollenbeck said. “We want this to be a positive thing.”

The SBDC serves the communities of Oak Creek, Hayden, Craig, Meeker and Rangely.

“We had a lot of spread,” Hollenbeck said. “Hopefully by the end of January, we’ll have a plan in place so businesses can get help.”

College officials are working with the state Small Business Association to find a solution.

Colorado Northwestern Community College’s state funding was reduced by $450,000 this year. That funding is used for operations and maintenance costs for all the CNCC campuses

State funding for the Craig campus is offset by a 3.017 local mill levy, which supports local programming. That revenue is estimated to decrease by about $70,000 this year.

Christina M. Currie can be reached at 824-7031 or by e-mail at ccurrie@craigdailypress.com.


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