The director of the Small Business Development Center at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point has been recognized for her leadership in assisting about 300 small businesses get started and expand in the area over the last ten years.
Vicki Lobermeier received the 2010 Innovation Champions Award, given by the Wisconsin Innovation Service Center, UW-Extension, the Wisconsin Division of Entrepreneurship and Economic Development and Wisconsin Small Business Development Centers. The award recognizes those who advance entrepreneurship in Wisconsin and its positive effects on communities. Lobermeier has worked at the SBDC for 19 years and has been its director for 14 years.
“This award really recognizes the UWSP center’s innovative efforts in serving small businesses in our nine-county service area,” said Lobermeier. “Business starts and growth have resulted and we can show a clear impact.”
Lobermeier likens her work throughout Central Wisconsin to grassroots economic development. She and SBDC counselor Mary Wescott meet individually with business owners and those looking to start a business for one-on-one counseling as well as offering a variety of services, including an Entrepreneurial Training Course, an automated resources phone line, the mapping of customer demographics and competitors through geographic information systems, and a variety of workshops and conferences.
“Economic development is at the heart of it,” said Lobermeier. “Starting businesses one by one jump starts our economy. What I like most about what I do is taking somebody from square one to actually opening up a business and seeing the growth in their knowledge.”
Lobermeier is a past recipient of the Association of Small Business Development Centers State Star Award and the Portage County Business Council’s Friend of Small Business Award. She founded the Wisconsin Women Entrepreneurs-Central Chapter and has served as state board member of Wisconsin Women Entrepreneurs, Inc. (now the National Association of Business Owners). She holds a bachelor’s degree from UW-Eau Claire and a master’s from UWSP.
The SBDC at UWSP is one of 12 centers and three specialty centers throughout the state that offer no-cost counseling and business training to meet the needs of both beginning and experienced business owners in their area. For more information, call 715-346-3838 or 800-898-9472 or go online to www.uwsp.edu/conted/sbdc.