UW-Eau Claire SBDC honored by Small Business Administration

EAU CLAIRE – The UW-Eau Claire Small Business Development Center and Director Luke Kempen (above, left) have been recognized for excellence in entrepreneurship by the Wisconsin district of the U.S. Small Business Administration.

Wisconsin’s 2017 Small Business Development Center of Excellence and Innovation Award was given to UW-Eau Claire’s SBDC office and Kempen for playing a critical role in the state’s small business community. Last year, the office’s consulting assisted 192 clients and led to 23 new businesses and 95 new jobs with a capital investment of $8.4 million.

“The success of the SBDC at UW-Eau Claire is the result of a great team effort,” Kempen said. “SBDC Consultant Dave Kochendorfer (above, right) and I foster the strong relationships we created with our partners, the local economic development professionals across northwest Wisconsin. This allows us to help hundreds of clients start and grow their businesses.”

“The SBDC at UW-Eau Claire is a very important strategic partner for the Wisconsin SBDC Network,” state Director Bon Wikenheiser said. “UW-Eau Claire’s campus leadership has been very supportive of Luke and Dave’s small business outreach efforts. Their services generate significant economic impact in our Northwest region. The office has also been instrumental in deepening the network’s skills across the state.”

Kempen joined the UW-Eau Claire SBDC office in 2013 as a consultant and became director in 2014, helping businesses start, manage and grow. Previous roles at Milwaukee and Eau Claire businesses have given him extensive experience in accounting, strategic planning, project management and human resources. He also started, built and sold his own business.

A certified public accountant, Kempen holds a bachelor’s degree in Accounting from UW-Eau Claire and is pursuing an MBA there.

The SBA will present all 15 of its state honors May 5 at the Small Business Awards Breakfast at the Hilton Milwaukee City Center.

“The UW-Eau Claire office was selected as one of Wisconsin’s finest examples of a dynamic participant in the state’s economy,” said SBA District Director Eric Ness. “We are thankful for their contributions to the vitality of Wisconsin’s small business environment.”

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, America’s SBDCs assisted 192,205 clients, resulting in 17,864 new businesses, 100,233 new jobs and $4.6 billion in capital investment.

The UW-Eau Claire SBDC office is at 7 Dewey St., Eau Claire; 715-836-5902;

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.

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.