ST. CLOUD (WJON News) -- If you are one of the hundreds of people who have thought about starting their own business, your first call might be to the Small Business Development Center.

They have been in St. Cloud for 40 years and at their current location on 5th Avenue since 2010.

Director Larae Ross says they help people figure out some numbers and specific details.

Is this a good idea, is this a good idea right now, or is this a good idea for me?  All of those things play into it.  Are you in a financial position to support your idea, or do you need to maybe take a step back and not have as grand of an idea and start small?

Ross says coming out of COVID they saw a boom in small business start-ups in late 2021, but that has slowed since late 2022 primarily due to the interest rate hikes.

She says if you have been wanting to start your own business they can help you crunch the numbers.

We help them develop a business plan.  That's them taking a look at the financial considerations.  Maybe the heaviest lifting that we do is creating the financial projections and helping them understand can I make this cash flow.  Am I going to be able to make a living on this?

Larae says the Small Business Development Center sees about 300 clients a year with about 25-30 of them actually launching.

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They are hosted by St. Cloud State University here in St. Cloud and serve one of nine regions across the state. Their funding comes from both state and federal grants.


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