There’s a new collaboration under way at Seward County Community College/Area Technical School, offering significant assistance to Southwest Kansas entrepreneurs who want to start or succeed in business.
The Kansas Small Business Development Center, SCCC/ATS and Garden City Community College recently signed an agreement to open a KSBDC Outreach Center in Liberal. The agreement will place a full-time small business consultant at the technical school facilities on the SCCC/ATS campus to work with new and existing businesses. The center is also looking for a development consultant to serve in the Liberal area.
Dr. Duane Dunn, president of SCCC/ATS indicated the potential for economic growth and new business development will be enhanced through this arrangement. “The vast majority of American businesses begin with an entrepreneurial idea and a small business concept. ;KSBDC assistance will enable area entrepreneurs implement their ideas into a successful business.”
The City of Liberal has also committed to the partnership as a cost-share partner with the college. A percentage of the operational costs have been authorized by the City Commission and City Manager Mark Hall toward the outreach center operations. “This is another aspect of the effective partnership,” Dunn stated, “The city will benefit from stronger business climate which brings in more customers, additional business growth, and resulting revenue.”
“This is a wise use of taxpayer dollars,” said KSBDC Regional Director Pat Veesart, Garden City.
“Through this agreement,” Veesart explained, “we’re able to increase service to the Liberal area by leveraging funds from different resources and using the regional center at GCCC as the employer of the new consultant.”
“What this does,” the regional director added, “is let us place a consultant in Liberal for less than half of what it would cost to start another full center.” Administrative duties will stay at the regional center in Garden City, freeing the new outreach consultant’s time to serve more clients in Seward and nearby counties.
Since 1991, when the regional center for Southwest Kansas opened in Garden City, there has been a maximum of just two people available to offer small business consulting in the facility’s 22-county service area.
“We’ve been spread pretty thin for a long time and we have a large area to cover, nearly 19,000 square miles,” Veesart said, “so clients sometimes have had to wait four weeks or more to get an appointment. Having an outreach location in Liberal will solve that problem, and provide much better service in the Liberal area.”

SEARCH ON FOR CONSULTANT IN LIBERAL
“I’m pleased that the KSBDC will have an outreach center in Liberal soon, which will help provide a needed resource in the community,” said Cris Garza, branch manager with the First National Bank of Liberal.
“Liberal has been growing in small business and has full potential for attracting more business, especially with support from agencies such as the KSBDC,” Garza added. “I have worked with Pat Veesart, from the local agency in Garden City, and that has helped in establishing the kinds of workshops and education necessary to meet future market needs in the area.”
Now, the search is on for an outreach center consultant to be based at SCCC/ATS.
“What we’re looking for is someone who likes a challenge, works independently and has a good sense for business,” Veesart said. “Ideally, we would like to hire a bilingual consultant with a business background.”
The person based on the SCCC/ATS campus will be providing consulting to individual clients in business planning, finance, marketing and management, and assisting them in building business plans, making financial projections, analyzing cash flow and developing marketing plans.
Depending on the client, the consultant may also advise on human resources, patent and trademark processes or in additional areas. In addition, he or she will set up training seminars, conduct presentations, take part in networking events and handle related responsibilities.
Veesart said the full position description is posted at www.gcccks.edu/employmentopp/OutreachCenterSBDC.htm, and an online application is available there. The number for the regional center is 620-276-9632.

GROWING KANSAS ENTREPRENEURS
The center at GCCC is one in a series of statewide sites in the KSBDC network, which operates with the slogan “Growing Kansas Entrepreneurs.” To meet that goal, the centers assist established firms, growth companies and start-up enterprises in meeting today’s business challenges. The KSBDC center is Garden City serves as a regional resource and support center for the small business person.
Any individual interested in starting or growing a small business may receive assistance from the KSBDC. There are no charges associated with the comprehensive, individual one-on-one counseling. Fees may be charged for training courses, though such courses are not required.
In addition to Seward County, the regional center serves Clark, Comanche, Edwards, Finney, Ford, Grant, Gray, Greeley, Hamilton, Haskell, Hodgeman, Kearny, Kiowa, Lane, Meade, Morton, Ness, Scott, Stanton, Stevens and Wichita Counties.
Garza cited the KSBDC’s assistance programs and close involvement with people from the community and First National Bank of Liberal in helping local business men and women accomplish their goals for growth.
“This will help make a difference in meeting the increasing needs that local business men and women have for resources, and enables them to manage and maintain growth in their enterprises more efficiently,” Garza added, “especially with today’s challenges in the marketplace.”