Local Persistence Reinstates ISBDC Business Advisor For 2018
By Mike Perleberg
(Lawrenceburg, Ind.) – An important resource for small businesses in southeastern Indiana is not going away in 2018 after all.
The Indiana Small Business Development Center Southeast office was planning to eliminate the business advisor serving Dearborn, Ripley, Ohio, Switzerland and Franklin counties.
Local business and government leaders expressed concerns about losing Ginnie Faller, the ISBDC business advisor for the five area counties. In that role, Faller has been a consultant to local small businesses by giving advice and helping them work through various business issues.
This week, good news was received by those hoping the local business advisor position would be available beyond 2017. Dr. Bo Beaulieu, director of the Purdue Center for Regional Development which hosts the ISBDC Southeast regional office, emailed local stakeholders Thursday.
“Thanks to additional support from both the (Purdue) Office of Engagement (headed up by Steve Abel) and the PCRD, we have been able to provide additional funding to the SEISBDC for the calendar year 2018. This one-time additional help will allow us to restore the Business Advisor police that Ginnie Faller had held in the past,” Beaulieu wrote.
Faller has worked out of offices in Lawrenceburg, Batesville, and elsewhere. If the local advisor had been eliminated, businesses here would have had to wait to meet with another advisor not locally based.
“For the past twenty years, our region has not had consistent ISBDC coverage,” local business owner Matt Miles wrote in a December 1 email to the IEDC. “Ginnie Faller not only filled that position, she networked with the community effectively to build trust and establish relationships. This enabled here to directly champion several initiatives to strengthen the region’s economic conditions – all of which had the region’s support, and all of which are now dead in the water.”
Miles has been documenting the ordeal on his Facebook page.
A spokesperson for the Indiana Economic Development Corporation told Eagle Country 99.3 in October that personnel changes in the southeast region were being made to streamline operations to better meet the needs of the region.
However, Miles and multiple other sources with knowledge of the situation have told Eagle Country 99.3 that the reason for the changes was not due to a desire to streamline the ISBDC Southeast’s operation. Rather, it was brought on by a lack of fundraising which should have been performed by others in the regional office.
Mayors, town directors, chamber presidents, local economic development organizations and others lobbied the ISBDC and IEDC – and even sought to fundraise on their own – to keep the critically important business advisor position, specifically Faller.
Their efforts were rewarded with Thursday’s revelation.
Dr. Beaulieu added that Faller has accepted the offer to return to the position for 2018. He also suggested local stakeholders hold further discussions on future, long-term funding to keep business advisor position in place.