Marin SBDC Finds New Home at Barowsky School of Business
As the new academic year gets underway, the Barowsky School of Business and the Marin Small Business Development Center (SBDC) have expanded their partnership. Going forward, the Marin SBDC will continue its operations from Barowsky’s campus at Dominican University in San Rafael.
Launched in 2013, the Marin SBDC focuses on supporting small business growth in Marin County. It is one of 12 similar Northern California nonprofits that receive partial funding from the Small Business Administration. Since its inception, Marin SBDC has supported the launch of 130 businesses locally that reach more than 745 clients. Additionally, its work has driven the creation or retention of at least 700 jobs.
The partnership has broad benefits on both sides with Barowsky Business School students getting to connect more deeply and directly with community organizations and gain valuable experience working on real projects.
“This gives us an opportunity to strengthen our relationship with our local businesses and community organizations in Marin,” said Sam Beldona, dean of the business school. “It strengthens the students learning not from a textbook or a PowerPoint presentation, but from actually bringing real life projects into the classroom.”
During the week prior to classes being officially in session, incoming MBA students participated in a weekend long orientation boot camp. Student teams worked on case studies reflecting real challenges of four participating community organizations. To find and engage these organizations, the Marin SBDC led the outreach process.
“Business owners brought their real problems to the table that the students worked on,” said Miriam Hope Karell, director of Marin SBDC. “Then [the business owners] could walk away and decide if they want to implement some of it.”
The Marin SBDC will provide additional programs throughout the academic year to Barowsky Business School students and the broader learning community. They are planning workshops, will bring in guest speakers and can offer support to students around internship placement. Additionally, the SBDC’s local business network will benefit from student engagement on their projects and can also utilize the SBDC’s team of advisors for consulting on a wide variety of topics ranging from investment and marketing to HR and beyond.
Strong community-based partnerships are just one of the many ways the Barowsky Business School offers its students and learning community valuable real-world experiences.