The Evolution of Technology at the Ohio State University South Centers

(Submitted by Patrick Dengel, Business Development Specialist, Small Business Development Center and Adjunct Instructor, University of Rio Grande MBA Program/OSU South Centers Collaboration, OSU South Centers)

Published on YouTube OSU South Centers
on April 15, 2015

In today’s world, evolving your processes and systems as technology advances is vital. We increase our knowledge and use of these tools daily in meeting our job responsibilities. Thomas and Duane discuss the Ohio State University South Centers technology progress over more than 20 years from a time of very limited use all the way through the future prospect of Drone technology application.

Dr. Thomas Worley, Director of Ohio State University South Centers, and Duane Rigsby, Technology Coordinator of Ohio State University South Centers.

Introduction to the Ohio State University South Centers Business Team

(Submitted by Patrick Dengel, Business Development Specialist, Small Business Development Center and Adjunct Instructor, University of Rio Grande MBA Program/OSU South Centers Collaboration, OSU South Centers)

Published on YouTube OSU South Centers
on January 29, 2015

An introduction to three business team members of the Ohio State University South Centers Business Development team. Ryan describes the facilities and services provided by the Endeavor Center (business incubator), Mike describes the Manufacturing and Technology Small Business Development Centers benefits and gives examples of assistance provided to area businesses, and Brad describes the benefits and services provided by the Small Business Development Center.

Mike Thompson, Director of Instructional Design & Media Services at the University of Rio Grande Mike Thompson, Rio Grande University, Mike Rowe, Past Director of Manufacturing and Technology Small Business Development Center at OSU South Centers, Ryan Mapes, Program Leaders and Director of Endeavor Center at OSU South Centers, and Brad Bapst, Director of Small Business Development Center at OSU South Centers.

Use Smart Phone Apps to Manage and Pay Employees

(Submitted by Melissa Carter, Director, International Trade Assistance Center, OSU South Centers)

Smart Phone Clock in

More and more businesses are turning to smartphone apps to simplify their operations. Here are two great apps to use to manage and pay employees.

The first app is called TimeStation. This app allows employees to clock in and out using their smart phone. It will also map your location, ensuring your employee is clocking in from the office or job site. If you log onto their website (which is mobile friendly): the owner can run over 15 reports, follow their activity map, and calculate pay for the week. For 10 employees, the app and online program are free.

Next up is Cash. When the employees have clocked out for the week, and you’ve calculated their pay on TimeStation, it’s time for Cash. The Cash app ( allows you to securely transfer money from one account to another. It is very easy to set up. After entering a debit card number, you can send or receive money from anyone on your contacts list. When money is received, you will get a text alert saying it is not in your account. Cash is from the makers of Square, the program used to also accept credit/debit cards from your smartphone. Smart Phone Pay

Cash is available for both Apple and Android. TimeStation is available for Apple right now but will be adding Android soon.

May 27, 2015 International Logistics Workshop

(Submitted by Melissa Carter, Director, International Trade Assistance Center, OSU South Centers)
2015 5-27 International Logistics Workshop
Interested in exporting your product but are unsure of how to get it there? The International Logistics workshop will offer an overview of the necessary steps to get your product to global consumers.

Join us on Wednesday, May 27 as we will have experts on hand to discuss freight forwarding, best practices for shipping, and local transportation options.

Information will also be shared on the Ohio Appalachia Export Grant that is available to companies operating in the Appalachian region to promote their products and services in international markets.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015
9:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.

Ohio State University South Centers
Endeavor Center
1862 Shyville Road
Piketon, OH 45661

Cost: Free (Please register by May 22)

Contact: Melissa Carter at or (740) 289-2071 x222

Client Spotlight: Ben, Todd, and Jason Nathan-Oak Chips Inc.

(Submitted by Kimberly Roush, Program Assistant, Ohio Cooperative Development Center and Business Development Network, OSU South Centers)

Generations of visionaries at Oak Chips Inc.

Oak Chips Inc. (OCI) originated in 1975 as Clarksville Stave & Veneer Co., Inc. Ben Nathan, Owner of OCI, developed a “slow-roasting” process of high quality toasted oak chips for the wine industry, which has continuously improved upon through the years.

The Nathan’s come from a long line of successful entrepreneurs, many were blacksmiths. Ben’s father invented a plow for John Deere. Ben and his sons, Todd and Jason, designed and hand built the machinery for the oak chips process. Today, OCI is a three-generation, family-owned business.

“My father is the man behind all of what you see today. He is the one who had the vision and we have capitalized on his energy and success. My father is 74 years old and is still in here every day,” states Todd Nathan.

OCI owners

In 2006, Jason Nathan took the initiative of finding a new place to expand OCI. He discovered a 65,000 square foot building on 45 acres in Waverly, Ohio. After two years of tedious dedication, Jason was able to relocate the old saw mill equipment to the new location. During this time, he obtained permits for setup and finished remodeling the building in 2008.

With a new vision in mind for expanding the family business at Oak Chips, Inc. and for the hometown community, Todd Nathan returned to Ohio from Tennessee. Initially, the infrastructure for the business needed some improvement. According to Todd, “It took about a year and a half to get settled. We had the facility, knew what to do, and, most importantly, had the right people here to do it. Two and a half years ago when I returned from Tennessee to help lead the restructure of OCI with my brother, we started out with 12 people, now we have over 50 people and are continuing to expand.”

Todd continues, “Today’s whisky business is increasing world-wide. With the Chinese market expanding, it opened up a new opportunity for our business to grow. OCI is exporting nearly half of their material overseas. The future holds a lot of opportunity for us to grow. We are currently in the process of adding another warehouse facility and considering two more mills.”

“Kelly O’Bryant and another industry partner, Chris Ervin, assisted in the funding process that helped to provide a $25,000 grant for a dust collection system. It was an expensive project and the money was helpful. Kelly and Chris got the grant application going and put the paperwork together. They knew exactly what I needed. I’ve done this a few times myself, and these guys are pros,” states Todd.

For more information about Oak Chips Inc., go to Oak Chips Inc.

So what is a cooperative and why should I care

(Submitted by Hannah Scott, Manager, Ohio Cooperative Development Center, OSU South Centers)

cooperation-384084_1280 (2)Merriam – Webster defines cooperation as “a situation in which people work together to do something.” Cooperation is the essence of the cooperative business model. A cooperative is member-owned, member-controlled businesses from which the members derive a benefit equitably. That all sounds nice, but what does it actually mean?

First, member-ownership refers to just that – the members of the cooperative are also the owners, just as the investors in a corporation are the owners of that corporation. In a cooperative, member-owners are also the main users of the business; and they benefit from the co-op’s services, which can range from education, to group marketing, to cooperative purchasing and beyond. An important point about cooperatives is implied in this principle: cooperatives’ success depends on member-owner commitment to the business as both owners and patrons.

Second, member-owners control the cooperative. Like other corporations, cooperatives are governed by a board of directors. Directors are elected from the membership by other member-owners to govern the cooperative and set the cooperative’s policy. In addition, most cooperatives follow the principle of one-member, one-vote. When voting issues are brought to the membership by directors, each member may cast one vote regardless of their level of equity in the cooperative or how much they use the cooperative. This principle allows cooperatives to be governed democratically rather than on the basis of ownership stake—one of the major differences between cooperatives and other business models.

us-566321_1920 (2) CooperationFinally, members should benefit from a cooperative equitably or fairly. Fair benefits in a cooperative often refers to the fact that the portion of revenues from the business that are not held for reinvestment are distributed to member-owners based on how much they used the cooperative that year. For example, a member-owner who markets more products through the cooperative will receive a larger portion of the revenue. Cooperatives refer to this as a patronage system. Patronage systems or other methods of ensuring that member-owners benefit fairly from the business are important for successful cooperation.

The Ohio Cooperative Development Center at the Ohio State University South Centers works with new and emerging cooperatives and cooperative like businesses in rural Ohio and West Virginia in an effort to support economic development. The center provides services and resource linkages, including formation counseling, member education, bylaw development, board training and consultation, resource linkages, and assistance with feasibility studies, strategic plan development, business planning, and policy development.

Client Spotlight: Katherine Fisher and Julie Knerr-Piano Safari

(Submitted by Kimberly Roush, Program Assistant, Ohio Cooperative Development Center and Business Development Network, OSU South Centers)

2015 4-16 Spotlight -Katherine Fisher-Piano Safari Katie pic -K Roush

Piano Safari – A Method for Beginning Pianists

Katherine Fisher is on the faculty of the Athens Community Music School at Ohio University in Athens, Ohio. Her responsibilities include teaching private piano lessons as well as coordinating group lessons for beginners.

When Katherine was in graduate school, just over 10 years ago, she met another student, Dr. Julie Knerr, with the same interest of creating a piano method. Julie is on the piano faculty of the Hartt School of Music Community Division in West Hartford, Connecticut, where she teaches private and group piano to students of all ages.

The two worked on their first book for many years before they actually started their business. In 2012, they formed as an LLC and began selling the Piano Safari® Method.

Katherine said, “Piano Safari creates instructional material for beginning pianists. We currently sell two levels and are working on our third. We print, distribute, and ship all of our materials. The majority of sales are generated online via our website.”

2015 4-16 Spotlight -Katherine Fisher-Piano Safari Lesson 1 pic -K RoushThe Piano Safari® Method components work together to provide students with a solid foundation in musical literacy through:
• Learning by eye. Reading Pieces and Sight Reading & Rhythm Cards using a systematic intervallic system
• Learning by ear. Rote Pieces that are very patterned

Piano Safari’s target market is piano teachers and parents. They have served approximately 1,000 customers over the last two years in the U.S., Canada, Australia, the United Kingdom, and other countries throughout the world.” Piano Safari markets on social networks, and they get great reviews from piano teachers who write articles for blogs.

Katherine continues, “We have been selling in the U.S. and became interested in expanding our international market. That is one of the reasons I contacted Melissa Carter at the International Trade Assistance Center for help. It is difficult to ship our material internationally because it is expensive. As a result, I have been looking for ways to make it more cost effective. Melissa is helping us connect with an international distributor to get more input. Melissa also helped me find grants. The grant provides assistance with expenses for attending international conferences and trade shows.”

Describing the benefit of working with Melissa, Katherine states, “Melissa has a wonderful response time and she answers question quickly. If she doesn’t know the answer to a question, she will put me in contact with the person or information that I need. I just feel thankful that I have someone I can ask questions about international business.”

Take a look at what is offered by Piano Safari® Method on their website or email Piano Safari®.

Hire student summer help and get 50% reimbursement

(Submitted by Melissa Carter, Director, International Trade Assistance Center, OSU South Centers)

2015 4-16 Career Exploration Internship Program Web ScreenshotAre you looking to hire some additional help this summer? Consider a high school student!

The Ohio Career Exploration Internship Program is an excellent opportunity. As a business, you can hire a high school student enrolled in the 11th or 12th grade as an intern through this program and get reimbursed for 50% of the intern’s salary, up to $5,000.

This is a win-win. A high school student can learn valuable skills and benefit from important career experiences. A business can gain some additional assistance at a reduced cost. For more information and the application, go to Ohio Career Exploration Internship Program.

Tips to avoid the demise of your small business startup

(Link shared by Chris Smalley, Business Development Specialist, Small Business Development Center, OSU South Centers)

thumb-489549_1920“According to the Small Business Administration, only two-thirds of new businesses last at least two years, and 44 percent survive for at least four years.” So what can you do to keep your business alive?

Take a look at CNN Money (’s article, 10 Tips: Avoiding the startup graveyard, by Jessica Seid, staff writer, that was posted online on September 20, 2006 at 10:31 AM EDT. These tips span the years.

Small business websites are important

(Submitted by Kelly O’Bryant, Business Development Specialist, Small Business Development Center, OSU South Centers)

Every business has a website, right? Just last week, I was looking for a particular business in the area. As usual, I pulled out my mobile phone and typed the business name into a search engine. What I found shocked me. NOTHING! I began to wonder how many small businesses do not have a website. I searched for an answer, and what I found was unexpected. Often small businesses do not have websites. The number of businesses that do not have websites is actually quite phenomenal. One source, Statistic Brain, states that a massive 75.2% of businesses do not have a website. office-605503_1920

So why is having a website important for small businesses? If a business wants to gain new customers or even keep existing customers, they need to reach the customers where they are, which is most often online. Any business that does not have a website is missing out on one of the most powerful marketing tools available to them.

A website:

1) Is how potential customers find you – most people go online to research and learn about your business and products before they make a purchase. If you don’t have a website, you are missing out on all of this potential business.

2) Gives your business credibility and displays professionalism – most people just assume that your business will have a website since many businesses do. If you don’t have a website where you can refer customers, they may assume that you are a small time company that cannot meet their needs. A website will not only give your business credibility, but it also gives the impression that your business is bigger with more resources to serve their needs. One of the great things about the internet is that it levels the playing field for smaller companies to compete with their larger competition.

3) Offers easy access – having a website makes it very easy for people to find you, read about your business, and learn about your product(s) or service(s). People will frequently decide if they want to do business with your company just from the information on your website. It is true that if you do not have a website, your business may still be found in an online search in the yellow pages or another directory listing. But do you really want to leave this to chance? If you create your own website, potential customers can gain direct access to your site, where you reflect positively on your company and product.

4) Can be affordable (in some cases even FREE) and worth the time investment – there are a lot of small businesses that do not have websites for a variety of reasons, but the most common reason is that businesses believe a website is expensive to create. Websites, in fact, can be expensive; however, there are a number of resources for building websites for very little or no expense at all.

As part of the America’s Small Business Development Centers, Ohio businesses can build and have hosted a FREE website. Please visit Google’s Free Online Tools for Your Business: Build a Free Website or contact me by email at or call 740-289-2071 x235.