SBDC at UW-Madison honored by Small Business Administration

MADISON – The UW-Madison Small Business Development Center (SBDC) and Director Michelle Somes-Booher have been recognized for their impact on entrepreneurship by the Wisconsin district of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).

Wisconsin’s 2018 Small Business Development Center of Excellence and Innovation Award was given to UW-Madison’s SBDC office and Somes-Booher for playing a critical role in the state’s small business community. Last year, the office’s consulting assisted 375 clients, leading to 30 new businesses, 100 new jobs and $13.3 million in capital investment.

“Our staff is honored to receive this award,” Somes-Booher said. “We are pleased to assist terrific clients who work hard every day to make their businesses a success.”

SBDCs help businesses start, manage and grow through no-cost, confidential consulting and business education.

A prime example of the Madison center’s innovation is the new First Steps to Starting a Business online course. This free, self-paced series of modules features videos of Wisconsin business owners who walk beginners through four sections: Entrepreneurial Mindset, Business Idea, Financial Readiness and Next Steps. This approach allows people to explore the concepts traditionally offered in a classroom setting on their own time in just 60 to 90 minutes.

“The SBDC at UW-Madison is a vital partner for the Wisconsin SBDC Network,” State Director Bon Wikenheiser said. “UW-Madison’s SBDC leads the network in programming outreach to entrepreneurs. The center’s professionals strategically follow up with clients and generate significant economic impact for their businesses. Michelle and her team are excellent ambassadors for Wisconsin.”

Somes-Booher joined the UW-Madison SBDC office in 2011 as a consultant and became director in 2016. Before that, she owned and operated her own business. She holds a BSBA in management and interpersonal and public communication and an MBA from Central Michigan University.

The SBA will present all 17 of its state honors May 4 at the SCORE/SBA Small Business Awards Breakfast at the Marriott Milwaukee West in Waukesha.

UW-Madison’s SBDC will celebrate another award that day as well: Bob Sands, who has helped support the Business Answerline for six years, was named SCORE Mentor of the Year for his Madison chapter service. SCORE is a volunteer mentorship network of working and retired business professionals.

The UW-Madison SBDC office is in Grainger Hall at 975 University Ave., Madison; 608-263-2221;

In 2017, the Wisconsin SBDC Network’s 14 centers provided confidential, no-cost consulting to 2,667 clients, leading to 281 new businesses, 1,112 new and retained jobs, and more than $80 million in capital investment.

About Wisconsin SBDC Network

The Wisconsin Small Business Development Center is a statewide network supporting entrepreneurs and business owners through no-cost, confidential consulting and business education. Regional SBDC experts facilitate improvement and growth for small and emerging mid-size companies and help launch successful new enterprises. The Wisconsin SBDC, hosted by the University of Wisconsin-Extension, features 14 local centers mostly located in four-year UW institutions, with outreach and virtual services covering the entire state.

About the U.S. Small Business Administration

The U.S. Small Business Administration makes the American dream of business ownership a reality. As the only go-to resource and voice for small businesses backed by the strength of the federal government, the SBA empowers entrepreneurs and small business owners with the resources and support they need to start and grow their businesses. It delivers services to people through an extensive network of SBA field offices and partnerships with public and private organizations.