Archive for the ‘Business News’ Category

InnovateHer Competion – Local Semi-Finalists Selected

We are pleased to announce that the semi-finalists for our local round of the InnovateHer Chanllenge 2016 have been selected.  The aim of the InnovateHer Challenge 2016, sponsored by the SBA and Microsoft, is to find innovative products and services that help impact and empower the lives of women and families.

Our three semi-finalists are:

  • Co-Mommy LLC which offers an innovative alternative to traditional childcare.
  • Nutritional Medicinals, LLC a company that provides whole food nutrition for use in tube feeding.
  • BTS, LLC which delivers therapeutic and educational interventions for children with special needs through video modeling on their online program,

The three companies will present their products/services to a panel of judges at Wright State’s Raj Soin College of Business on December 2nd.  The winner of the event will progress to the national competition with the possibility being one of ten finalists invited to travel to Washington D.C. to compete for up to $70,000 in prize money provided by Microsoft.

Congratulations and Good Luck!


International Market Access Grant for Exporters (IMAGE)

10/29/2015 Comments off

IMAGE grants are back for another year of funding. The Ohio International Market Access Grant for Exporters (IMAGE), funded by the state of Ohio and the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), is designed to increase exports and create jobs. The IMAGE grant offers financial assistance for small businesses to promote their products and services in international markets.

If you have any interest in the IMAGE grant program, please take the time to apply and get the process started. It will be very competitive this year, so don’t wait until the end and miss the opportunity.

WHAT does IMAGE cover?

IMAGE funds will reimburse companies a maximum of $10,000 (50 percent on expenditures up to $20,000) for participation in the following activities:

International Tradeshow Exhibition

  • Booth space rental and construction
  • Freight costs to ship booth and materials
  • Trade show registration fees
  • Travel expenses and domestic trade shows are not eligible

Approved Trade Missions

Individual Market Visit supported by the state of Ohio in-country support, USCS Gold Key Service or Food Export Market Builder

  • View supported market research assistance through the state of Ohio in-country support, the US Dept. of Commerce Gold Key service and Food Export Market Builder.
  • Economy-class airfare in accordance with the Fly America Act
  • Lodging rate as set by the U.S Department of State
  • Interpreter fees, ground transportation, meals and incidentals are not eligible
  • Travel expenses limited to two people

International Advertising

  • Cost of production and placement of advertisements in magazines, newspapers, posters, billboards, direct mail, on TV, radio and international websites
  • Printing costs are not eligible
  • Website Development
  • Website translation into foreign language, search engine optimization and localization services ($3,000 reimbursement maximum in this category)

Translation Services

  • Marketing material translations and localizations
  • Label, packaging and technical manual translations
  • Printing costs are not eligible

COMPANY Eligibility

The IMAGE program requires the application to be signed by a corporate officer, certifying that certain eligibility criteria will be met. Guidelines for eligibility include: the company operates a licensed business in Ohio to manufacture, assemble and/or distribute a product or provide an exportable service; company certifies that the products to be promoted contain a majority of U.S. content. U.S. content is valued at export-works price minus the aggregate value contributed by foreign suppliers, including labor and material; and nonprofits are not eligible.. There are other eligibility criteria listed at

HOW to Apply?

For application guidelines and tips, visit The application can be found at:

If you have questions concerning your company’s eligible reimbursements, contact Thien Bui at or 614.466.4996.

The SBDC, International Trade Program can assist you with determining the events and activities that support your export marketing plans. Call Kathy Marshalek for an appointment or suggestions at 937.775.3524.

Small Business Exporter of the Year 2016

10/29/2015 Comments off

The SBA will make Small Business Exporter of the Year awards to eligible small businesses at the State level (from each of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Guam) and the National level to small business owners who represent the nation’s strong entrepreneurial spirit and rich diversity. In those states served by more than one SBA district office, each district office will select a district level winner and the State winner will be selected at the regional level. The National Small Business Exporter of the Year will be selected from the regional level winners.

Who is eligible to be nominated for this award?

Any individual who owns and operates or who bears principal responsibility for operating a small business that is engaged in exporting may be nominated. Partners who jointly own and operate a small business may be nominated as a “team,” so long as the number of individuals in the team nomination does not exceed four. A nominee for Small Business Exporter of the Year must own or operate a business defined as “small” for its primary industry under the applicable SBA size standards. Individuals who have received the Small Business Person Award or Exporter Award at the State level within the past five years are not eligible. Elected officials are not eligible. Nominees must also be residents of the United States or its territories. Nominees will be subject to background checks. Small businesses owned and operated by nominees must comply with federal civil rights laws. While receipt of SBA assistance is not required, it is preferred. Consult your nearest SBA district office if you have questions.

Who may submit nominations for this award?

Any individual or organization dedicated to the support of the small business community in the United States, including, but not limited to, trade and professional associations and business organizations, may submit nominations for the Small Business Exporter of the Year award. Individuals may also self-nominate. Individuals may not be nominated for more than one National Small Business Week 2016 award category. SBA employees may help to solicit nominations, but they cannot submit nominations on behalf of the nominee.

Where are the nominations to be sent?

Nominations must be submitted in one of two ways:

1) Nominations may be submitted to the U.S. Small Business Administration district office in the state or territory where the nominee is located; or 2) Nominations may be submitted via the online nominations portal on

What is the deadline for nominations?

All nominations for Small Business Exporter of the Year submitted to the U.S. Small Business Administration district office in the state or territory where the nominee is located must be postmarked or hand delivered to the appropriate SBA District Office no later than 3:00pm ET, January 11, 2016. All nominations submitted through the online nominations portal must be uploaded and submitted no later than 3:00pm ET, January 11, 2016.

What information must the nomination package contain?

Nominations must contain the information required below. Incomplete nomination packages will not be considered. All evaluation/selection criteria must be specifically addressed.

1. A completed background form (SBA Form 3300, Award Nominee Background Form) which is available through SBA district offices and the online nominations portal. For “team” nominations, a background form is required for each team member;

2. A completed nomination form (SBA Form 3302, Small Business Exporter of the Year) which is available through SBA district offices and the online nominations portal;

3. An original 8” x 10” or 5” x 7” photo of the nominee or a digital photo – at least 300 dpi is required; photocopies are not acceptable. For “team” nominations, a photo of each nominee or group photo is acceptable;

4. Additional supporting documentation deemed significant by the nominator, including news clips, letters of recommendation, nomination letter (if not self-nominated) and other evidence of the appropriateness of the nomination (supporting documentation must not exceed 10 pages). Videos will not be considered.

What are the evaluation/selection criteria for the Exporter of the Year award?

In evaluating the nomination packages for the Exporter of the Year award, the judges will use the following criteria:

1) Increased sales, profits and/or growth of employment because of exporting.

2) Creative overseas marketing strategies.

3) Effective solutions to export-related problems, including trade financing, payment, and currency issues; market-entry and logistical challenges; cultural differences, etc.

4) Demonstrated encouragement of other small businesses to export.

5) Volunteer assistance to other small businesses entering the export market.

6) Cooperation with other businesses in the creation of export trading companies and/or introduction of unique trading relationships, products or services.

What are the selection procedures for this award?

SBA will make Small Business Exporter of the Year awards to eligible small businesses at the District, Regional, and National levels.

Winners at each level will be selected by a panel of judges that may be comprised of both SBA employees and non-Federal employees. The National Exporter of the Year will be selected by the SBA Administrator based on, but not restricted to, the recommendations of the panel of judges of federal employees. Non-federal employees serving as judges must sign a conflict of interest/non-disclosure certification.

Other SBA Awards

SBA is currently seeking nominations from the public for exceptional entrepreneurs. You can use this online portal to submit your nomination for the following awards:

  • * Small Business Person of the Year Awards
  • * Small Business Exporter of the Year
  • * Phoenix Award for Small Business Disaster Recovery
  • * Phoenix Award for Outstanding Contributions to Disaster Recovery
  • * Women’s Business Center of Excellence Award
  • * Veteran Business Outreach Center Excellence in Service Award
  • * Federal Procurement Award- Small Business Prime Contractor of the Year Award
  • * Federal Procurement Award- Small Business Subcontractor of the Year Award
  • * Federal Procurement Award- Dwight D. Eisenhower Award for Excellence
  • * 8(a) Graduate of the Year Award
  • * Small Business Development Center Excellence and Innovation Award


*New Workshop* – Creative Thinking Toolbox for Small Business 10/28/2015

10/01/2015 Comments off

Looking to Boost your Creativity?

Creative Toolbox for Small Business
WARNING: DO NOT ATTEND THIS WORKSHOP… unless you want to turbo-charge your thinking skills… Do you have an established small business or are you thinking of starting one? Finding creative solutions to your customers’ needs is a daily chore. In a fast-moving and crowded marketplace, those who innovate and offer a more creative approach often win.

In this 2-hour, interactive workshop, we open the vault and share some of the Creativity secret weapons used from Silicon Valley to Madison Avenue. Large companies have been using these techniques for decades. You’ll see the creativity hacks, shortcuts, and worm-holes not taught in college. Learn how to apply them to your business. They are quick to learn and can be applied instantly.

What if it’s Monday morning, you’ve not had your coffee yet, and you MUST be creative? What if you don’t think you are a creative person? Doesn’t matter! Armed with these techniques, anybody can boost their creativity. These skills help in multiple small business situations:

* What kind of business should I start? What is my niche? How can I leverage my knowledge and skills into a compelling offer for clients?

* How can I stand out as a more effective employee or vendor?

* How can I more effectively solve problems?

* How can I boost sales with a promotional event, give-away, or ad?

Eventbrite - Creative Thinking Toolbox for Small Businesses - Afternoon

About Your Instructor: Jeff Cole is an author, consultant, and speaker who has trained over 5000 people in process improvement methods. He has over 30 years of experience in applying creativity techniques to help improve business processes. Jeff has helped organizations across a wide range of industries in public and private sectors, both domestically and abroad. He can be found at

InnovateHER 2016 – Innovating for Women Business Challenge

09/12/2015 Comments off

Innovate her challenge logo

The Small Business Development Center at Wright State will be one of three Ohio local host sites for the InnovateHER 2016 – Innovating for Women Business Challenge. Women make up nearly half of our nation’s labor force with 70% of those women caring for children under the age of 18.  As the demands on woman and families grow, the need for products and services that address unique challenges increase. The Small Business Administration and Microsoft to have partnered find the most innovative products and services that could have impact on the lives of women and families.

Contestants must develop a product or service that meets the following three Challenge Criteria

  • Has a measurable impact on the lives of women and families
  • Has the potential for commercialization
  • Fills a need in the marketplace

To enter the local competition, hosted by the SBDC at Wright State University, business plans must be submitted to by 5:00 PM on Monday, November 9th.  Plans will be reviewed by Raj Soin College of Business  faculty/staff and the top 3 plans will have the opportunity to present their marketing pitch to a panel of three judges on December 2nd on Wright State Campus.  Here is the rubric to guide you.  WSU InnovateHER 2016 Challenge Rubric

The winner of this local competition will move up for a chance to compete in a  national competition which will culminate in a live marketing pitch in Washington D.C. on March 17th, 2016.  The national competition has a $40,000 first place prize, a $20,000 second place prize and a $10,000 third place prize.

For more information, please see visit the SBA Website or view the Challenge Rules.

Categories: Business News

The Stogie Smoke Stop opens in Huber Heights

07/08/2015 Comments off
owners of the stogie smoke stop

Robby and Ane Graham

Looking for a great cigar?


On June 8th, SBDC client, Robby Graham had his soft opening of The Stogie Smoke Stop; a fun, casual cigar and pipe lounge. It is located at 5789 Old Troy Pike in Huber Heights. The shop sells cigars and pipes, and provides a relaxed and enjoyable atmosphere to smoke and socialize.

Robby renovated the building, built the walk in humidor and decorated the shop with a train theme. The front of the building has tables for dominoes, spade tournaments and other games; while the back of the building houses the Espinoza Lounge, a comfortable space for conversation hosted by Espinoza Cigars. The shop is equipped with free wi-fi and wide screen televisions.

The Stogie Smoke Stop is also a donation station for the Cigars for Warriors program which collects and disperses premium cigars and accessories to American Service Men and Women serving in combat zones. Robby himself is both an Air Force and a Huber Heights police force veteran.

On July 30th & 31st The Stogie Smoke Shop is holding its grand opening. Check their Facebook page for more details.

The shop is open daily from 11 am to 9 pm daily. For more information, or general inquiries, call The Stogie Smoke Shop at (937) 938-1774 or email  For more information about the Small Business Development Center at Wright State University’s Raj Soin College of Business call 937-775-3503 or visit

Life Transition for Me – Cheryl Malone Receives National Recognition

05/28/2015 Comments off

Cheryl-Malone-rev-200x300Recently, the national Small Business Administration (SBA), Office of Veterans Business Development’s Boots to Business program featured local Air Force Veteran, Retired Lieutenant Colonel, and businesswoman, Cheryl Malone in their national curriculum video. Introduced by newly appointed, state cabinet official and SBA Administrator, Maria Contreras-Sweet, this 9-minute video introduces the three-step, entrepreneurial Training Assistance Program, called Transition Goals, Plans, Success (Transition GPS). This program helps veterans to transition from active-duty to civilian life with tools, resources and methods to start their very own business.

Noting her leadership and advocacy for veterans, Malone discusses her experience from serving in the Air Force. With most veterans, these skills “translate in (how) we think strategically, then focusing on what our mission is, we execute it and go for the best.” Her previous experiences include working in the Pentagon with developing recruitment, promotion and evaluating policies, as well as Mission Support Squadron Commander at Misawa Air Base, Japan –where her squadron was the “Best Squadron in the Pacific Air Forces Command” for two consecutive years (2001-2002). Other awards include: 2003 #1 Lieutenant Colonel Personnel Officer in the Headquarters Air Force Materiel Command; recipient of the 1997 Best Air Force Installation Social Actions (EEO/Diversity) Office, while assigned at Kunsan Air Base, South Korea; recipient of the 1995 Tuskegee Airman, Inc. Officer of the Year; and the Meritorious Service Medal, among many others.

As an appointed representative for the Ohio Advisory for Women Veterans on the Ohio Department of Veteran Services Board, and co-founder of the Dayton Veteran Affairs Women’s Veteran Outreach Collaborative, she participates in relative subject matters affecting those who are maneuvering through the next chapter of their lives.

As current CEO/Director of Life Transition for Me, LLC, Malone strives to continue servicing her country and community as an advocate for veterans. Through their Coaching and Resource Connection Center, the company helps clients by offering in-depth insight and coaching on their goals and decision-making. Many of these stem from questions such as, “Where do I start?”, “What do I do now?”, or “Where do I go?” However, often these questions do not rely solely on veterans, but in everyday civilian life for military spouses, corporate consultations, or college students at a crossroad.

For more information, or general inquiries, call Life Transition for Me at (888) 504-8807, or (937) 516-8073, or check out their website at For information about the SBA’s Boots to Business program, click here. For a schedule of upcoming Boots to Business programs, check the SBDC training schedule. For more information about the Small Business Development Center at Wright State University’s Raj Soin College of Business call 937-775-3503 or visit

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