Best of NKU and Cincinnati too

After 20 years of helping small businesses get started, Northern Kentucky University’s Small Business Development Center was named “best friend to mom-and-pop” businesses in the October Best of the City issue of “Cincinnati Magazine”.

Sutton Landry, SBDC’s director for 15 years, said he was surprised to receive the award.

“After 15 years here, we are an overnight success,” Landry said.

When compiling the Best of the City issue, “Cincinnati Magazine” senior editor Linda Vaccariello said she talked to many people who are satisfied with the help at NKU’s SBDC and its two consultants, Landry and assistant center director Sam Asmah.

“The two guys are really helpful, creative and practical,” Vaccariello said. “They are interested in helping out entrepreneurs.”

The SBDC consults with new entrepreneurs giving them tips on overcoming the many obstacles in starting a business. Landry and Asmah both privately consult with business owners and provide public seminars throughout northern Kentucky dispensing information on the legal and financial issues of business ownership. Landry said the center fields may inquiries via the telephone.

“For a lot of folks, we are an emergency room,” Landry said. “They come in when they have an acute problem, and we help them solve that problem or refer them to someone who can solve that problem.”

Without the SBDC’s help, business owner Ken Stock said he would not know where he could have gone to get the necessary information for starting a business. In 1998, Stock and four other partners started Weldco, a hardware supply store. He said a seminar conducted by the SBDC gave him a structure and a guideline to start his business.

Since then, Stock said he has a close relationship with SBDC that helps him with any problems he may have. With five partners running a company, Stock said it can be complicated in delegating responsibilities evenly and the SBDC gives them solutions to such dilemmas.

“I have been able to call Sutton (Landry) and he has always been there,” Stock said.