Funds will support small businesses in the region

Contributed photo
West Central Minnesota SBDC’s Amy Anderson, associate director, and Ian Carlstrom, regional director, near their office on M State’s Moorhead campus.

The West Central Minnesota Small Business Development Center, headquartered on M State’s Moorhead campus, has been awarded a $396,000 grant to support the startup, growth and success of the region’s diverse entrepreneurs and small business owners.

The grant, a two-year funding opportunity slated to begin in January of 2024, is a Small Business Assistance Partnership Competitive Grant, awarded by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development’s Office of Small Business and Innovation.

One of nine regional Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs) in Minnesota, the West Central Minnesota SBDC serves Clay, Becker, Otter Tail, Wilkin, Grant, Douglas, Traverse, Pope and Stevens counties. The center bolsters the success of small business owners and entrepreneurs by providing thousands of hours of direct consulting, advising and technical assistance annually, at no cost to clients.

The center also plays a role in connecting clients with a robust network of beneficial resources and expertise to foster success and resilience for small businesses.

“I’m very excited to partner with DEED in this,” said Ian Carlstrom, Regional Director of the West Central Minnesota SBDC. “Their support allows us to continue serving existing small businesses, as well as new startups, that fuel vibrant and thriving communities throughout our region.”

The regional SBDC is committed to propelling entrepreneurial growth in west central Minnesota through the active advancement of diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives. Over the two funding years of the grant award, the center is likely to serve over 760 unique clients, primarily rural and underserved populations, including clients with disabilities and women, BIPOC, veteran and LGBTQ+ clients. Last year, people from underserved populations made up 90 percent of the center’s clientele.

“The DEED grant money will be used to provide entrepreneurship training, one-on-one technical assistance, and workshops for entrepreneurs and small businesses, with a strong focus on serving underserved clients,” Carlstrom said. “We will also be keeping up efforts to engage the area with regular, tailored information sessions, presentations and other ways to get the word out about who we are and what we do.”

SBDC offices are located across the United States, making up the nation’s largest small business assistance network. M State has been the host of the West Central Minnesota SBDC office since January 2023. For more information, visit