Deadline in Kentucky is Oct. 16 for Physical Disaster Loan

(Shared by Brad Bapst, Director, Small Business Development Center, OSU South Centers)

Applicants may apply online using the Electronic Loan Application (ELA) via SBA’s secure website at

Disaster loan information and applications may also be obtained by calling the SBA’s Customer Service Center at 1-800-659-2955 (1-800-877-8339 for the deaf and hard-of-hearing), or by emailing Loan applications can also be downloaded at Completed applications should be mailed to: U.S. Small Business Administration, Processing and Disbursement Center, 14925 Kingsport Road, Fort Worth, TX 76155.

Application Opens for Workforce Training Funds

(Shared by Brad Bapst, Director, Small Business Development Center, OSU South Centers)

For more information about the Ohio Incumbent Workforce Training Voucher Program, visit

Ohio Incumbent Workforce Training Voucher Program
Guidelines FY’18

The Ohio Incumbent Workforce Training Voucher Program (“Voucher Program”) is an employer-driven program designed to provide direct financial assistance to train workers and improve the economic competitiveness of Ohio’s employers. The Voucher Program is designed to offset a portion, via reimbursement, of the employer’s costs to improve the skills of its incumbent workforce. The Voucher Program will provide reimbursement to eligible employers for specific training costs accrued during the course of training. Eligible employers must demonstrate that by receiving funding assistance through the Voucher Program their business will not only obtain a skilled workforce, but will also improve company processes and competitiveness.

Program Eligibility:

To be eligible for financial assistance, the following requirements must be met by both the employer and employee:

EMPLOYER ELIGIBILITY – an eligible employer must operate as a for-profit entity in a state-designated targeted industry, with a facility located in Ohio that has been in continuous operation for the 12 months immediately prior to application submittal. The company’s NAICS code ( will determine eligibility as to the targeted industry. A listing of eligible NAICS codes can be found on our website.

Targeted industries are:

• Advanced Manufacturing
• Aerospace and Aviation
• Automotive (Automotive Technicians)
• Automotive (Manufacturing)
• BioHealth
• Corporate Headquarters
• Energy
• Financial Services
• Food Processing
• Information Technology and Services
• Logistics
• Polymers and Chemicals
• Research and Development

Each Applicant will be eligible for up to $4,000 in reimbursement for each eligible incumbent employee per Fiscal Year and up to $25,000 in total assistance per Fiscal Year. The Voucher Agreement and any Supplements to the Voucher Agreement issued to an employer during the Fiscal Year, aggregated throughout all of its state of Ohio locations, will be included in this calculation. Please note that only one application per Applicant will be accepted per program year. If an employer has multiple sites or Affiliated Entities, those sites and Affiliated Entities must work together to submit one application. An application may include multiple employees and multiple training courses.

Companies that received Voucher Program assistance in FY’16 (based upon FEIN) who utilized 33% or less of their award amount will not be eligible for assistance in FY’18. The same standard will be applied to future Voucher Program funding years (i.e. if funds are not utilized in FY17, that company will not be eligible for Voucher Program assistance in FY19, and so on and so forth).

An Applicant, including its Affiliated Entities may only submit one application. The Applicant and Affiliated Entities will be responsible for selecting the entity that will apply and manage the project. The application should not include training for any entity that is not eligible for FY’18 funding.

Eligible training for Corporate Headquarter will be for the corporate headquarters staff only (employees that support the operation by providing information technology, human resources, or accounting services).

EMPLOYEE ELIGIBILITY – an eligible incumbent employee is someone who is directly employed by the Applicant at a facility located within Ohio and meets all of the following requirements:

• Employed in any of the following business functions: production, back office operations, information technology, logistics, research and development or as an automotive technician;
• Earning an hourly wage of at least 150 percent of the federal minimum wage ($10.88 as of January 1, 2012) plus benefits;
• An Ohio resident;
• At least 18 years of age;
• Working at least 25 hours per week; and
• Directly employed by the Applicant for six months or longer.

Note: an employee who is employed in a retail/service function is not eligible for the Voucher Program.

Eligible Training

Training opportunities that expand and improve an employee’s workforce skills and develop his or her opportunities for growth or promotion within the company are eligible for the Voucher Program. The training provider is to be selected independently by the employer and/or employee (with employer approval) and may be a public, private or in-house trainer.

While the effective date of the agreement will be January 1, 2018, any costs incurred or monies expended by the Applicant on the Project prior to final approval and execution of the written Agreement is done at the Applicant’s own risk. Applicant’s decision to go forward does not obligate the State of Ohio to provide state assistance that has not received all required approvals, or has not been memorialized in a written agreement between the applicant and the State of Ohio.

Training must be completed by December 31, 2018.

Trainings may be conducted at the employer’s facility, at the training provider’s facility, online or at a third-party site. Eligible training will be technical in nature, will relate to the employee’s current position or future advancement within the company, and must be required by the company. Training activities may include:

• Training for improved process efficiency (e.g. ISO-9000, Six Sigma or Lean Manufacturing);
• Training from a national, regional or state trade association that offers an independently certified training curriculum and testing;
• Training that leads to an industry recognized certificate/credential;
• Training provided in conjunction with the purchase of a new piece of equipment; and
• Training to maintain an industry recognized credential.

Ineligible training activities include (but are not limited to):

• Conference fees;
• Curriculum Development and/or Prep Time;
• General Equivalency Diploma (GED);
• HR Certification;
• ICD-10;
• Laws, Regulations, and Taxes – Training related to compliance regulations, federal/state taxation laws, international laws, US labor laws, etc;
• On-Line Resource Libraries or any other resource in which an individual can choose from a number of courses over a period of time;
• Membership Fees;
• Microsoft Office courses (this includes Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, One Note, Access, and Publisher);
• Safety Training – Mandated or regulatory safety training is not eligible. Mandated or regulatory safety training includes but is not limited to blood borne pathogens, control of hazardous materials, lockout/tagout, emergency action plan, emergency response, hazard communications, hearing conservation, safe electrical workplace, all OSHA, and stand-alone safety (including first aid, cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), emergency medical technician (EMT), etc);
• Seminars/Workshops/Webinars;
• Tuition Reimbursement;
• Soft Skills (please note that this list is not all inclusive):

Adapting to Change
Anger Management
Bankruptcy Laws
Basic Math
Business Policies and Procedures
Business Writing
Communication Skills
Conducting Effective Meetings
Constructive Feedback and Criticism
Conflict Resolution
Creative & Innovative Ideas
Creative Thinking
Customer Service
Decision Making
Drug and Alcohol Education
Drug Testing
Effective Listening
E-mail Skills
Employee Relations
Emotional Intelligence
English as a Second Language
Foreign Culture and Customs
Fraud Detection/Prevention
GED Prep Courses
Generational Divide
Habits of Success People
HR Training (i.e., diversity, ethics, sexual harassment, etc.)
Informational Meetings
Interpersonal Communication
Interpersonal Skills Development
Interviewing Techniques
Leadership Courses
Legal Contracts
Legal Purchasing
Listening Skills
Monthly Meetings
Myers Briggs
Navigating Difficult Conversations
Negotiation Skills
Notary Public
Optimizing Your Work/Life Balance
Orientation/On Boarding
Organizational Behavior
Personal Management/Health
Presentation Skills
Public Speaking
Strategic Planning
Teamwork/Team Building
Telephone Skills
Time Management
Train the Trainer (How to become a more effective trainer)
Workplace Politics
• Required/Regulatory Training – Training that is required by any other public agency or department is not eligible. These trainings may include but are not limited to EPA, Hazardous Waste, FDA, Workers Comp, OSHA, etc.;
• Training that is already being reimbursed by another State or Federal training program (e.g. Ohio Workforce Guarantee, National Emergency Grant, etc.);
• Training that leads to professional license (i.e., doctors, lawyers, accountants,etc.);
• Training to maintain a professional license;
• Travel costs;
• CDL training and testing; and
• Wages of trainees while being trained.

Eligible Training Costs

The Applicant may request reimbursement for up to 33 percent of the Applicant’s cost to train an incumbent employee (up to $4,000), which may be used for any of the following purposes:

• Instructor costs;
• Instructional materials.
o Please note that these costs must be prorated per employee and will be capped at 25 percent of the cost of training per employee per training. Additionally, instructional materials must be requested and approved in the application to be eligible.

Available Funding

This Voucher Program is operated as a reimbursement program. The Ohio Development Services Agency will reimburse the Applicant for up to 33 percent of the cost of the training (up to $4,000), after 1) the Applicant pays the full cost of the training, and 2) the incumbent employee successfully completes the training. Payment of the cost of the training by an Applicant must come from private sources and cannot include any previously acquired public funds.

The invoice for reimbursement may only be submitted after an employee has successfully completed the approved training. The Applicant shall submit invoices no more than once during each quarter of the grant period, unless it is the final invoice.

Funding approvals for the Voucher Program will be on a first-come, first-served basis.

The Ohio Development Services Agency reserves the right to hold any pending applications due to the Applicant or its Affiliated Entities being delinquent or non-compliant under any other agreement with the Ohio Development Services Agency, or the Applicant or its Affiliated Entities having any outstanding tax or EPA liabilities with the State of Ohio.

Additional Information

Additional program information, including post-approval documents and processes, can be found at the following website:

Capitalized terms not otherwise defined in these Voucher Program Guidelines shall have the meaning given to them in the Ohio Incumbent Workforce Training Voucher Program Definitions FY’18.

Create a culture of collaboration at work

(Submitted by Ivory Harlow, Ohio Cooperative Development Center, OSU South Centers)

By Ivory Harlow, Cooperative Development Specialist

“Great things in business are never done by one person; they’re done by a team of people.”
– Steve Jobs, founder of Apple

Team work makes the dream work, but how do business owners create a culture of collaboration for problem solving? By bringing people together, identifying strengths, and encouraging participation with discussion techniques and digital tools.

Bring people together

Invite potential team members to a meeting to propose collaboration. is an online scheduling solution that finds the best time for people to meet. Although videoconferencing can make meetings more convenient, especially for groups that are wide-spread, in-person meetings are recommended at the beginning of a new project. Body language, eye contact and tone can be lost on video, but are critical to establishing group dynamics. Videoconferencing and online meetings can be used to bring people together once collaborators are well-acquainted, have developed a project plan and have a good sense how they will work together as a team.

Identify individual strengths

Honing in on individual strengths may seem counterproductive to creating a collaborative culture, but identifying how each collaborator can best contribute utilizes personnel resources effectively. Honoring individual strengths empowers collaborators to do their best work in an area they thrive. A football coach does not play the quarterback in a linebacker position; the coach optimizes each player to do what they do best for team success.
Don’t assume a person’s job title is their only strength. Instead, ask each collaborator what he or she is good at or what kind of work they enjoy doing. You may discover the front desk clerk has a knack for numbers, and the tech guy has a gift for design!

Encourage participation

Collaborators are more likely to contribute when they feel their voices are heard and their ideas are valued. Using discussion techniques like stop-watch brainstorming is fast-paced and fun. Collaborators are given a time limit to blurt out as many ideas as possible. A scribe records the ideas to return to after brainstorming is complete. This discussion technique inspires creative problem solving.

Sometimes it is necessary to tease ideas out of introverts or new team members who may not feel comfortable speaking up in the group. The around-the-room discussion technique gives every collaborator an equal opportunity to share ideas.

The digital age of business offers a ton of tools to create a culture of collaboration at work. Office 365, Google Hangouts and Google Docs, Dropbox, instant messaging and apps like Evernote and Slack are examples. These tools can be used to supplement in-person meetings, host working documents or track progress on a project.

Blog banner: public domain pic from

Should I Open a Franchise or Start a Business?

(Shared by Jennifer Dunn, Program Assistant, Endeavor Center, OSU South Centers)

by: Kenneth Burke

The feelings of ownership and fulfillment that come with entrepreneurship are only beaten by the rewards that pay out if your venture succeeds! But there are drawbacks, too—namely a lot of work and risk.

It’s because of these pros and cons that so many ask the question: Should I open a franchise or start my own business? There’s no blanket answer because you need to consider several things before taking the next step.

After starting Kenneth Burke Media and getting into the tech startup scene with Text Request, I have a good idea of what it takes to start your own business. Thankfully, I also work closely with Julie Batycki, VP of Operations and Development for Educational Outfitters. They’re the nation’s number one school uniforms franchise and two-time winner of Franchise Business Review’s Best Franchises to Own award.

She knows a thing or two about opening franchises, and together, we came up with a set of questions to help you see if starting a business or opening a franchise is better for you.

What are you hoping to get out of business ownership?

There are several reasons you might want to own a business.

Maybe you’re looking to:
•Find the next challenge of your career
•Prove to yourself you can do it
•Monetize a hobby or interest
•Gain the freedoms that come with ownership
•Or any number of other reasons

So first, figure out: Why do you want to do this? Read more…

Meet Aubrey and Adam Bolender

(Submitted by Ivory Harlow, Ohio Cooperative Development Center, OSU South Centers)

YouTube – Published on Sep 22, 2017
Ohio Cooperative Development Center client spotlight:

Meet Aubrey and Adam Bolender, two beef producers in southern Ohio. Learn more about how strong partnerships with their co-op members and each other help their operation grow.

Local Meat and the Cooperative Business Model

(Submitted by Kimberly Roush, Program Assistant, Business Development Network, OSU South Centers)

Don’t miss the Co-op Center’s Farm Science Review presentation “Local Meat and the Cooperative Business Model.” Our workshop is this Thursday, 9/21, 11 a.m., at the Small Farm Center.

Consumer demand for locally produced food is sky high. A USDA Local Food Marketing Practices Survey identified over 167,000 operations across the nation selling food direct to consumers, retail, institutions and intermediaries; their sales accounted for $8.7 billion dollars in revenue. Ohio contributed $1.8 million to total direct food sales in 2015.

9.3 percent of U.S. livestock producers market products through direct sales channels. Beef, poultry, lamb, goats, pork, aquaculture and specialty animal products accounted for $648 million dollars in earnings according to the 2012 USDA Census of Agriculture.

Challenges of moving meat from farm to fork:

There is a great opportunity to market local meat in Ohio and the region, but the opportunity comes with challenges. Raising animals for market takes a lot of time and effort. Farmers and ranchers have difficulty finding additional time to manage processing and distribution of meat products for direct sales.

Many farmers struggle to brand and package products in a way that appeals to consumers. They point out that agriculture, not marketing, is their area of expertise. Farmers may need to educate customers on the benefits of buying local meat. It can be a challenge to convince customers who are used to buying a tube of beef at a big box store for a fraction of the price and flavor that local meat is a better buy.

Securing a federally inspected meat processor is a major barrier to local meat production. The National Agricultural Statistics Service found the number of federally inspected cattle slaughter plants declined 12 percent between 2001 and 2013. As a result, producers have difficulty planning production to satisfy demand. They face long wait times; which may push an animal beyond target market weight range or maturity. Often farmers are forced to transport livestock long distances to slaughter.

Small operations may not produce a sufficient volume of meat to sell to restaurants, institutions and intermediaries. The alternative, selling local meat in low volume channels, may not generate enough revenue to support their livestock operation.

Read more …

Worker bees create buzz at BreadHive

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

GUSTO | By Mark Sommer | Published August 23, 2017 | Updated August 23, 2017

The question is heard often at BreadHive Bakery & Cafe.

“I don’t know how many times I’ve been asked, ‘How do I talk to a manager?’ ” said Emily Stewart, who founded BreadHive with Allison Ewing. “But there’s not one, there’s six, and people change when they realize they’re talking to an owner.

“It’s usually followed by, ‘How old are you?’ ”

BreadHive is a worker cooperative-owned business. It began as a wholesale distributor in a storefront in April 2015 on the West Side at 123 Baynes St. A cafe followed in June 2016 at 402 Connecticut St.

Read more…

Facebook Insights

(Submitted by Melissa Carter, Business Development Specialist, Small Business Development Center, OSU South Centers)

If you have a Facebook page, are you monitoring your insights whenever you post? The Insights tab on your Facebook page allows you to view and monitor so much about who is visiting your page and how your posts are responding. What all can you utilize the insights for? Let’s talk about a few of them:

• Overview – if you don’t want to dive deep into your page, no worries. The overview showcases a summary of all the statistics and your most recent posts.

• People – Oh wow, this shares so much. If your business needs to target a specific audience, this is a great starting point. This tab shows the likes of your page and the people those likes represent. Percentages of male and female fans, age ranges, and the cities (and countries if relevant) they represent.

• Posts – This tab lists your published posts and how they were received. It shows the type of post – whether it’s a link shared, a photo uploaded, or just text; the reach or the unique number of individuals who have seen the post, and the engagement, which is clicks on the link or photo, reactions, comments and shares.

• Local – If your business page has an address associated on the page, then a Local tab will show up in your insights, which shares data from the zip code you are located in.

There’s also statistics on videos, events, messages, and even more. The biggest key to all of these insights is one thing. POST! Too many businesses come to me with help gaining a larger audience with their Facebook page, but only post a few times a month. The more you post on a regular basis, specifically posts with links or videos, the more reach and engagement will grow on your page.

Self Employment Checklist

(Shared by Jennifer Dunn, Program Assistant, Endeavor Center, OSU South Centers)

Imagine waking up every day and working on projects that challenge, inspire, and fulfill you.

It’s something you’ve envisioned for a long time—the dream of creating a life you love based on doing work that you can truly take ownership of.

You know that to get there, you need to be self employed. The prospect of this is both thrilling and terrifying—so much so that taking those first steps feels like an insurmountable challenge.

However, you’ve decided that you’re ready to rise to that challenge; you just need a road map. We’ve created a free checklist to help you navigate through the process of self employment.

Read More…