STEVENS POINT — Melissa Meschke has been named Director of the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at UW-Stevens Point, taking over for Mary Wescott, to lead regional efforts in the nation’s largest business assistance network.
The SBDC at UW-Stevens Point is one of 14 offices in the Wisconsin SBDC Network offered through UW-Extension’s collaboration with the UW four year campuses to support entrepreneurs and business owners through no-cost, confidential consulting and targeted educational programs.
Meschke, a UW-Eau Claire graduate, is coming back to Wisconsin after five years as marketing director and chief operating officer at Michigan Creative, a marketing company in Lansing. She also served as an ambassador for the Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce for almost two years. Through heavy involvement in Lansing’s entrepreneurial space, she gained knowledge on funding sources, business plan development, legal issues and marketing.
Meschke is excited to use her expertise working with a wide variety of businesses, from early to late stage, to help new and existing businesses in her nine-county region.
“I really enjoy listening to people’s business ideas and helping their dreams become a reality,” Meschke said. “The services that the SBDC offers are absolutely invaluable to businesses.”
Wescott has been working with Meschke ahead of her retirement Sept. 15. Over the past 21 years, Wescott assisted over 1,800 entrepreneurs and would-be entrepreneurs and helped 500 Entrepreneurial Training Program students complete formal business plans. “I am grateful for my co-workers, clients and colleagues, who make every day a better day, and appreciate the university and the UW System, whose very names mean opportunity for so many.”
Bon Wikenheiser, state SBDC director, said Wescott has been a tireless champion for clients. “Mary epitomizes the dedication of those working in the Wisconsin SBDC Network,” Wikenheiser said. “She taught all of us that grace and persistence will prevail, and I am grateful to have been her colleague.”
In 2016, the Wisconsin SBDC Network provided confidential, no-cost consulting to 2,567 clients, leading to 238 new businesses, 695 new jobs, 195 retained jobs and almost $76 million in capital investment. Nationally in that same year, SBDCs across the United States assisted 192,205 clients, resulting in 17,864 new businesses, 100,233 new jobs and $4.6 billion in capital investment.
The UW-Stevens Point SBDC, hosted by the campus’ Continuing Education Office, can be reached at 2100 Main St., Room 32, Stevens Point, WI 54481; 715-346-3838; ; and https://www.wisconsinsbdc.org/stevenspoint.
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 targeted educational programs. 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. http://www.wisconsinSBDC.org
About the Small Business Administration
The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) was created in 1953 and since January 13, 2012, has served as a Cabinet-level agency of the federal government to aid, counsel, assist and protect the interests of small business concerns, to preserve free competitive enterprise and to maintain and strengthen the overall economy of our nation. The SBA helps Americans start, build and grow businesses. Through an extensive network of field offices and partnerships with public and private organizations, the SBA delivers its services to people throughout the United States, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Guam. www.sba.gov