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Small Business Office to Close
March 25, 2016

The Small Business and Technology Development Center, which has been part of Chillicothe since the early 1990s, will close this summer. The office is operated under the direction of Northwest Missouri State University and is also sponsored by the U.S. Small Business Administration. Larry Lee, director of business development and tenant relations for the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship through Northwest Missouri State University, confirmed with the Constitution-Tribune that the office will close June 30, 2016. The Chillicothe office opened in 1993 and has worked in cooperation with the city to assist business owners and potential entrepreneurs meet competitive challenges and offer consulting at no charge, along with follow-up services. Matt Trussell has been the Chillicothe office director since 2013. Through an agreement with the city of Chillicothe, the city provided space for the center at City Hall and has also contracted with the office to provide funding for business-related services to Chillicothe businesses and individuals. "It has been a great relationship with the city," Lee said. "The city has been very generous with space and funds to help us." Just last month, Trussell delivered the annual report for his office to the Chillicothe City Council. He stated that during 2015, the center helped businesses in the region increase sales by more than $3.5 million, acquire almost $2 million in financing, helped create or retain 83 jobs, helped start six business, trained 150 clients and counseled 95 clients. Through the support of the city, the office is able to provide services to start-up businesses as well as existing business that are financially beyond their means, Trussell said. These services include market research utilizing proprietary data bases and library sources, business plan development, financial analysis, assistance in acquiring financing, buy-sell agreements, and access to referral services that include selling to the government. This year, Trussell requested $7,500 to support the office for the 2016 budget year.

Lee declined to provide additional information regarding the closing at this time but said details would be announced later. "I hope there is another organization that can pick up the slack in small business creation in the near future," he said. The Northwest SBTDC's geographical region covers 18 counties spanning from Atchison County, southward to Platte County and eastward to Livingston County. There are three offices in the service region of the Northwest SBTDC.

The regional office is located in Maryville, Mo. The Chillicothe office serves the eastern portion of the region while an office in St. Joseph serves the southern section.

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