The Cleveland Heights-University Heights Public Library has announced it will partner with Cleveland State’s Monte Ahuja College of Business and the City of Cleveland Heights to move the existing Small Business Development Center (SBDC) to its new Heights Knowledge and Innovation Center in the west wing of the Lee Road Branch, scheduled to open in June 2013.
This move will increase the customer base of the SBDC, currently located in the Cleveland Heights City Hall, and allow those seeking advice on business plans, marketing, staffing or other related issues to use the library’s resources to put their plans into action.
“We are a model for the whole country,” says Heights Libraries Director Nancy Levin. “We will be documenting our activities so that other libraries can follow our lead. This is a partnership that makes complete sense.”
Jim Kraft, director of the Cuyahoga County SBDC at Cleveland State University, and a graduate student from CSU’s Monte Ahuja College of Business will staff the SBDC. Jim Kraft has been advising small business owners for more than 20 years.
Staff will be funded by the Ohio Department of Development and the U.S. Small Business Administration. The State of Ohio Small Business Association will be funding counselors with $30,000 which the library will match with $10,000. There are 39 SBDCs in the state of Ohio.
“Locating the CSU SBDC in the Heights Knowledge and Innovation Center opens a new avenue for the small business person in the region,” says Kraft. “Combining the resources of the CSU SBDC and the library will give small businesses access to information in a whole new way. The CSU SBDC will be able to utilize all of the databases that are available and will be able to pass this on to our clients. This partnership is a first in the SBDC network and we are excited to be part of it.”
“We are very enthusiastic about this opportunity to collaborate with Heights Libraries to advance economic development in the region and hope to set a positive example for other SBDCs and library systems to follow,” says Steve Percy, dean of the Monte Ahuja College of Business.
The new HKIC at Heights Libraries will include:
- An improved computer lab with 26 roomy work stations and computers featuring Microsoft Office Software
- Expanded wireless access in the HKIC lounge area
- Two small study rooms
- iPad rental (Coming in July)
- A special collection of business- and technology-related books and magazines
- A production work area and office supplies such as a copier, printer, scanner, and fax machine
- A video, sound, and digital media lab
The building currently houses Dobama Theatre, which will not be affected by the renovation, and Family Connections Little Heights Literacy Playroom, which will move to the space currently occupied by the Library’s existing computer lab.
Heights Libraries has planned grand opening activities for the new HKIC throughout the month of June.