Clinton County Port Authority serves as an SBDC ambassador


WILMINGTON — The Clinton County Port Authority (CCPA) was one of 50 ambassadors for the 2023 SBDC Day on March 15. The day is a national, collective proclamation of the impact America’s Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs) have on the success of our nation’s dreamers, innovators, and doers – America’s small businesses.

As small business owners navigate an ever-changing landscape, SBDCs continue to support and elevate their clients through innovative at-cost training programs and free advising strategies, according to a news release. Nearly 1,000 SBDCs across the United States and its territories serve clients virtually and from their offices. The CCPA is enthusiastically serving as an SBDC DAY Ambassador for the third year running because of the success the Port Authority board has seen from the Miami University Small Business Development Center (MUSBDC) – the Port Authority’s partner since 2020 – in Clinton County.

James Buckner, MUSBDC vice president of business counseling, serves as the Business Advisor for Clinton County. In 2022 he was recognized at the Ohio SBDC Conference as the SBDC Mentor of the Year. He has provided 628 business advising/consulting hours, resulting in: 170 new jobs created, predominantly in manufacturing and construction; $12.79 million capital formation; and $25.66 million in sales growth.

“The SBDC’s relationship with the Port Authority is a true economic development partnership,” said Alex Beres, Clinton County Port Authority Executive Director. “Jim Buckner’s expertise is invaluable in our ability to assist our local small businesses to grow and expand in Clinton County.”

The theme for the seventh-annual SBDC Day is “Reimaging Main Street,” a theme that is reflected in Buckner’s work with his clients, including Kava Haus, a locally-owned coffee shop located in Wilmington.

“Kava Haus is a rapidly growing small business that has received tremendous support and guidance from Jim Buckner and the Clinton County Port Authority,” said Brad Heys, Kava Haus owner. “Over the past year, Kava Haus has been grateful to have the CCPA as a resource to help grow and guide this business forward and help seek out new endeavors.” MUSBDC assistance allowed Kava Haus to purchase a trailer — the Kava Kart — for mobile sales at regional events and to open a second location in Xenia, in neighboring Greene County.

The SBDC’s work in Clinton County is not just focused on Main Street or Wilmington. Two Clinton County business expansions initially planned for out-of-county will now be kept in the county, representing significant owner investment, commercial financing, and job growth. A third existing business expansion opportunity is in the works.

“The SBDC has been assisting business owners here in Clinton County with everything from production capacity, supply chain improvement, and additional facility needs, to talent acquisition, banking, and international trade,” said Walt Rowsey, chair of the Clinton County Port Authority Board.

Several construction and manufacturing businesses that have been consistently working with MUSBDC are in their third straight year of growth. “The support the SBDC has offered to local businesses has been professional, thorough, and eminently impactful,” he added.

“Through adversity, we strengthen and grow, and nothing could be truer for the SBDC network and its thousands of clients this past year,” said Charles “Tee” Rowe, president & CEO of America’s SBDC. “This SBDC Day, we are celebrating the SBDC network’s reimagined approach to doing business and its direct positive impact on Main Streets all across America.”

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