The Grameen Bank and Its Replication Throughout the World
Sokol, Jeffrey P.
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My SIP was done at the Kalamazoo Small Business Development Center. I was under the supervision of Carl Shook, the Director of the Kalamazoo SBDC. The Kalamazoo SBDC is one of thirteen regional offices in the state of Michigan. Our primary job is to provide counseling and other services to three basic types of small businesses; those who are looking to start a small business, those who are in business and want to expand, and those who are in business and struggling. Since eighty percent of small businesses fail within two years of starting up, we see our job as trying to figure out what that twenty percent do to be successful. Our goal for each client is to minimize their chance at failure, and maximize their chance of success. We stress that the single most important key to success in small business is organization and business planning. All the services we provide are free. We are able to do this because of a grant from the United States Small Business Administration. Kalamazoo College receives the grant and is told to set-up the center. Because of this, we are not employees of the federal government, we are employees of the College. However, since we are dependent on the federal government for funding we must fill out forms documenting our clients, and what exactly it is we tell them. Besides counseling we also offer access to the Learning Center, which is two IBM 486 computers located in our office that are completely accessible to our clients, free of charge. Also, we have a referral service to over sixty local professionals who volunteer a few hours of their services to our customers.