Welcome to the Northwest Small Business Development Center!

Want to start or grow a business in Northwest Minnesota? You’re in the right place. The business experts at the Northwest Small Business Development Center (NWSBDC) are here to support you – located in the Northwest Minnesota Foundation office building.

We provide free information, no-cost confidential counseling and one-on-one support to start, build and grow your business. We have the tools, templates, training and services to make the process as easy as possible.

The Northwest Small Business Development Center is proud to offer business counsel and support services!

Our core services include:
  • Services for existing businesses
  • Services for start-ups
  • Training workshops and seminars
  • Professional, confidential consulting
  • The SBDC provides a wealth of opportunities for pre-venture, start-up and small businesses. Take advantage of our events and online resources to learn more about a wide variety of topics that impact small businesses. Contact us today with questions or to request a free consultation.

Funded in part through a Cooperative Agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration, Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development and regional support partners. All opinions, conclusions or recommendations expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the program sponsors. Programs are open to the public on a nondiscriminatory basis. Reasonable accommodations for persons with disabilities will be made if requested at least two weeks in advance.

We understand that starting a small business in Minnesota is not a single decision, but a series of them. Each one is an important step on the road to a successful launch.

We offer the following small business education services to get you started and grow your business:

  • Financial projections
  • Loan packaging
  • Accounting and record keeping
  • Market analysis
  • Market research
  • Strategic marketing
  • Workshops on starting a business and other topics
  • Business Planning
  • Strategic Planning

You can read A Guide to Starting a Business in Minnesota.  It provides a concise summary discussion of major issues, questions and concerns that are most commonly raised by those contemplating a business start-up. This and other guidebooks are available from the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development website.

Or, you can also go to the IRS page on Starting a Business to get more info.

Best of all, the above services are offered free or at low cost to businesses located in northwestern Minnesota.

For more information on the steps of starting a business you can click this document Steps to Starting a Business in Minnesota.

We can assist you to grow your business through diversification, franchising, merges and aquisitions, market focus, new markets, new technology and more.

It’s time to take your small business to the next level by managing and nurturing it with knowledge, discipline, problem-solving skills, determination and stamina. Growing your company requires skillful management of finances, inventories, employees, marketing, sales, customers and growth.

The Northwest Small Business Development Center has experts to help you. Find information, business templates and tools to help keep your business running smoothly and position you for future success.

We offer areas of consulting and services to take your business to the next level:

  • Strategic Planning
  • Financial Projections
  • Market Analysis
  • Mergers and Acquisitions
  • Expansion
  • Diversification
  • Franchising
  • Loan Packaging

These suggestions are guidelines to provide a roadmap to the formation of a business and the basic sense of direction you’ll need before you begin. This information is not a substitute for the advice of an attorney, accountant and other business professionals.

Workshops and trainings are a great way to energize yourself and employees. The SBDC partners with many organizations to bring a wide variety of topics and locations around the region.

Upcoming Events and Workshops:

  1. LegalCORPS Provides NO COST Legal Consultations!

Individuals who own or are starting a small business in Minnesota can receive up to 30 Minutes of NO COST advice on their business law issues. LegalCORPS volunteer attorneys can provide the sound legal advice that is essential for success in business and preventing costly troubles that can ruin an enterprise.

Some legal issues in which LegalCORPS can provide advice and/or assistance are:

  • Choice of legal form of organization
  • Intellectual property-copyright, trademark, trade name, licensing, and patents
  • Contracts and commercial leases
  • Taxation
  • Government regulation
  • Employment
  • Franchising
  • Risk management
  • Real estate
  • Director duties and internal organization
  • Commercial debtor/creditor rights and options
  • Other legal issues NOT involving participation in litigation

*Not an all-inclusive list

To schedule your consultation, call the NW SBDC at 218-755-4255.

  1. Future Workshop Planning

Are you having trouble finding training on the topics you need to have a successful business?  Let us know. Contact us with a topic or area of need to grow your business. We look forward to addressing your business training needs through a future workshop.

Here are some helpful small business development resources and online tools.


7 Best Responsive Website Builders
Another great listing for the aspiring website creator.

15 Best Free Website Builders
Are you looking to build a website, but are short on funds?  Check these out!

A Guide to Starting A Business in Minnesota
A collection of step-by-step information on how to start a business in Minnesota.

Business Loan Funds
This site will be a great benefit if you are searching for financing (and will then need help filling out paperwork and developing a business plan) along with an up-to-date resource for counselors to better assist clients.  This website is the largest and most up to date resource on the internet and is closing in on 2,000 unique loan programs including those from SBA, USDA, EDA, not for profits and economics development agencies in every country throughout the United States.

Business Organization Comparison
Having trouble deciding what kind of company to start?  Here are type comparisons.

Census Business Builder Tool: Small Business Edition
Determine the best location for your business, this is a great tool for anyone looking to find out more information regarding their target business location.

Entrepreneurial Essentials
Learn the basics and more about being an Entrepreneur.

Learn about business support, insurance, loans, credit scores and more.

Free Invoice Templates
Free invoice templates for Word, PDF, and Excel. Create and send professional-looking invoices with these simple, free invoice templates—available for Microsoft Word, Adobe Acrobat, and Microsoft Excel. Download the invoice template in your desired format, edit, and send via email.

How to Write a Business Plan
When how to write a business plan is at the top of the SBA list of the ten steps in how to start a business, it tells you something about how important the experts consider it to be. Planning a business and writing a business plan is more than just having a location picked and a product or service to sell. Financing, marketing strategy and future growth all require a well-researched and thought out business plan.

Do you have legal questions pertaining to your business?  Try this FREE legal consultation!
To sign up, email an inquiry to nwsbdc@nwmf.org.

Loan Payment Calculator
The IRS provides excellent tools that helps small business owners stay tax compliant.

Lumberjack’s Guide to Downtown Bemidji, MN
Information on where to find what, and links to important forms.

Marketing Research
Information on how to define and expand your market presence.

Small Business & Entrepreneurs Glossary
A glossary of all things related to small business and entrepreneurship.

Small Business Recruiting Guide and Resources
A collection of resources and introductory articles that will help guide you on your journey in recruiting new employees for your business.

The Best Online MBA in Entrepreneurship Programs 
Learn more about what you can do with an online MBA in entrepreneurship and what kind of career opportunities you can look forward to in the field with this comprehensive guide.

Top 10 Best eCommerce Website Builders for Creating Online Stores
Do you need to add a shopping cart to your site?  Here is a listing for you!

Women-Owned Small Business
The Small Business Act authorizes contracting officers to specifically limit or set aside, certain requirements for competition solely amongst women-owned small businesses (WOSBs) or economically disadvantaged women-owned small businesses (EDWOSBs). Facts, Guide, FAQs

Philip Knutson

Philip Knutson is our regional director. He graduated from the University of North Dakota with an emphasis in business, finance, and entrepreneurship. In addition to the SBDC he works as a program specialist for business development and the lead coordinator of the IDEA Competition at the Northwest Minnesota Foundation.  In Philip’s spare time he enjoys all sorts of outdoor recreation, being with his family, and he acts as the Executive Director of the Bemidji Blue Ox Marathon.


Mic McCrory

Mic McCrory is a program coordinator for the SBDC. He serves as an initial point of contact for SBDC clients and helps to connect clients with consultants and other introductory resources. He is also the primary event organizer for the IDEA Competition. Mic joined the SBDC team in 2019. Before that, he was working as a Development Officer at the Northwest Minnesota Foundation. Prior to that role, he spent most of his career in sales and marketing in the private sector.


Grant Oppegaard

Grant Oppegaard, a business consultant, offers start-up assistance, financial analysis, strategic management and employee relations for clients. He also has a passion for turning around stressed businesses. He received his MPA from University of New Hampshire and has over 35 years experience in retail, direct marketing, and manufacturing companies. For 10 years, he was CEO of Genmar Holdings and took their stock value from $2 per share to $13.29 per share. Grant enjoys working with people and is a master at dealing with growth, adversity, and change.


Deborah McGregor

Deb McGregor received her undergraduate degree from Concordia College with a B.A. in Organizational Communications and French. Her Master’s degree is from North Dakota State University with a M.A. in Speech Communications and an emphasis in Organizational Culture and Structure. Her thesis project was on life coaching. Deb is also a Certified Professional Co-active Coach (CPCC) through the Coaches Training Institute. She is a member of the Minnesota Coaches Association and International Coach Federation (ICF) where she holds the ACC Credential. Deb has many years of experience working in the areas of marketing and development with several non-profit organizations as well as for-profit entities, especially entrepreneurs.

Deb’s personal mission is to assist individuals in the development of their fullest potential through innovative training, consulting and coaching. She values trust, integrity, faith, nature, loyalty and relationships. Her passion for every project in which she is involved is inspiring and motivating. Deb leads by example and sets high standards for herself and others.


Dana Schnortz

Dana Schnortz, a business consultant, specializes in business plan development for the Northwest Small Business Development Center. He received his MBA from the University of Phoenix and since 2009 has advised and mentored students in the Small Business Administration Program at Oak Hills Christian College. Classes facilitated include Intro to Business, Personal Finance, Marketing, and Business Law and Ethics. Outside of work, Dana volunteers for Bemidji’s Evangelical Covenant Church and Servants of Shelter.


Gavin Herrera

Gavin Herrera, a business consultant, offers start-up assistance, business plan development, and financial analysis for the Northwest Small Business Development Center.  He graduated from Bemidji State University with an emphasis in business management.  In addition to the SBDC he started an equipment lease finance company with his father in 2008.  He has his expertise in Alternative Financing and Non-Bank Finance which he works nationwide providing.  Doing business with small business all the way up to Fortune 1000 corporations he understands the ways to access capital in alternative forms.  He also sits on an economic development advisory board for the HUBZone Contractors National Council in VA.  In Gavin’s spare time he enjoys anything outdoors including hunting, archery, fishing, golfing and bird dog training with his yellow lab, Tuska Lou.


Colleen Falk

Colleen Falk represents the SBDC as a Strategic Planner and Business Consultant. She is also an Instructor at NW Technical college teaching in the area of Business.  Colleen received a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and a Master’s of Science in Industrial Technology from Bemidji State University. She has more than 30 years in the areas of business development, corporate relations, and training in the areas of Entrepreneurship, Marketing, Operations and Finance and Quality Management.  Many of the positions held have required project management skills, responsible for the coordination and financial management of a project. Colleen and her husband Tim live in Laporte and have owned their own small businesses for over 30 years.


Christine Anderson

Representing the NW SBDC, Christine offices out of the University of MN Crookston campus, serving the western half of the region. She brings with her a background in human resource, manufacturing, agriculture, accounting, QuickBooks, leadership, economic development, real estate, and small business management, financial analysis.

Christine holds a BS in Vocational Education/Business from Bemidji State University and an AS in Marketing from Rainy River Community College, and also holds a certificate in Paralegal studies. She is an Economic Development Finance Professional through the National Development Council and a Licensed Real Estate Broker in South Dakota. Christine has also completed course work in Human Resource Development, and Profit Mastery.

Annual report documents:

Contact the NWSBDC