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Small business consulting available at no cost from Ida-Lew specialist

Jessica Austad

Photo by Lorie Palmer
Jessica Austad

— Ida-Lew Economic Development Specialist Jessaca Austad is adding to her workload. The Grangeville-based businesswoman is becoming certified to serve as the Idaho Small Business Development Center’s (SBDC) agent for Idaho and Lewis counties.

“It is a job that really complements what Ida-Lew has to offer,” Austad explained. “It’s a very good partnership.”

As a certified agent for SBDC, Austad will be able to offer a variety of free consulting services to businesses and would-be businesses.

“We offer many training opportunities for all sizes of businesses and those who are considering starting up businesses,” she explained.

The SBDC’s mission is to improve competitiveness, business skills, sales and profits and Idaho’s economy in general.

The list of topics includes everything from accounting and advertising to hiring and human resources, and social media and leadership to technology and time management.

“Really, the topics are endless,” Austad said. “Need some help figuring out why profits are low? What about customer service training or grant information? Branding? Student interns? We will help with anything on our list of topics as well as anything you can come up with.”

Austad said about 60 percent of SBDC’s customers are those who already own businesses while 40 percent are potential business owners.

“We have access to a lot of statistics and information helpful to those who may be considering starting a business but want to know, for example, how that type of business does in a rural area,” she explained.

Some larger workshops are offered on topics such as Quicken and cost a nominal fee. These can take place in local communities as long as there is a commitment for the number of people attending. Austad said the consultant services are specifically tailored to each business and meetings take place when it is most convenient for the employer and employees.

“Everything is very confidential and the only kind of exception is that if two or more businesses decide they want to work together on a project, network together to improve in a similar area,” she said.

Austad said she hopes the local businesses and people who are considering starting any type of business will contact her and ask for help.

“No question or topic is too small,” she emphasized.

Call Austad at 983-8302.

To read more about existing topics or more of what SBDC does, log onto

Idaho’s SBCD is a partnership with Ida-Lew, the U.S. Small Business Administration and Lewis-Clark State College.


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