Growing Local Economies is one of the Rotary Foundation’s areas of focus and a priority for many Witchita Falls SW Rotarians.
Club President Elect Steve Haviland introduced our speakers Vanda Cullar, Director of the Small Business Development Center SBDC at MSU and Jeannie Hilber, i.d.e.a WF Coordinator. No stranger to WFSW Rotarians, Vanda has presented to our club over the years. In addition, SW Rotary has supported SBDC with community grants in past years. In his introductory comments, Steve shared that 25% or so of SW Rotarian’s have benefitted from consulting with Vanda’s team at the SBDC.  Our own Penny Miller, was a semi-finalist in the ideaWF 2017 competition

Vanda Cullar has led the SBDC at MSU for 34 years.  SBDC MSU is one of 6 centers in the NW Texas area Serving 95 counties. Area headquarters are in Lubbock hosted at Texas Tech.
SBDC at MSU Service Area
Special programs
  1. TX Manufacturing Assistance Center (TMAC), features engineers specializing in lean manufacturing that consult with businesses looking to improve the operations.  This paid service is lower cost than industry consultants while offering the similar on-site reviews, coaching and implementation services
  2. Procurement Assistance Center capabilities are served in the NW area by Mark Sydney, retired from SAFB procurement and another experienced executive in the Abilene area.
  3. Business Industry Data Center offers SBDC client’s access to quantitative data on markets, competitors and other business data that helps frame a business plan and gain support from lenders and supporters.
The SBDC at MSU has had major impact thru the past months of COVID-19:
•  4,891 Client Contacts
•  $30 Million Capital Formation
•  631 Jobs Created
•  1,749 Attendees at Training Events
Great examples of SBDC client successes are captured in video’s:
Other SBDC services include the popular Lemonade Day offering children the opportunity to run their own business.  SBDC supports these efforts with workshops to develop their idea as well as coaching from MSU student volunteers.
Many people have a unique entrepreneurial dream, but don’t know how to get started. By participating in ideaWF, entrepreneurs gain a better understanding of how to develop, build, and grow sustainable businesses that will strengthen the local economy. Through in-depth training, personalized consulting, and applied research assistance, contestants enhance their knowledge and chance for success.
Since its inception in 2010, ideaWF has awarded more than $250,000 in cash and about a half million of in-kind services to thirty different winners. In 2018, those winners combined to generate sales revenues of more than $9 million and to employ more than 100 people!
Participants in ideaWF will be led through the business planning and startup or expansion processes. Six orientation sessions, as well a series of eight unique seminars will teach entrepreneurs exactly what they need to do to plan their business, conduct market research, make sales and financial forecasts, market their companies, pitch to investors, keep accurate business records, understand those records, and pitch their plan to investors.
ideaWF is sponsored by the Wichita Falls Economic Development Corporation and overseen by Lalani Center for Entrepreneurship and Free Enterprise, which is located in the Dillard College of Business Administration at MSU Texas. The purpose of ideaWF is stimulate the local economy by providing funding and other resources to entrepreneurs in Wichita Falls. Winners can use their funds to open new businesses or expand existing businesses, so long as they primary create jobs.
The purpose of ideaWF is to facilitate access to capital for new and existing businesses in the greater Wichita Falls area. The program is a partnership between the Wichita Falls Economic Development Corporation, the Lalani Center for Entrepreneurship & Free Enterprise, and the Dillard College of Business Administration at MSU Texas.  The major criterion for winners is bring new money from outside of Wichita, Archer, and Clay counties, and to create new employment opportunities for local workers.
Now in their 11th year, ideaWF has created 100 full time equivalent (FTE) positions with 89 primary jobs in manufacturing.  Revenue from participating businesses exceeds $10M per year and 80% of past participants are still in business, a percentage far better than business’s general survival rates.
2021 Participants developed a business plan and compete for up to $100,000 with $250,000 in funding available for 2021.   ideaWF advises participants that competition is a task spanning 6 months inclusive of 6 workshops.  Steps are listed below:
  1. Attend one of 6 identical orientation sessions
  2. Enter the competition by submitting an investor fact sheet, applications, credit reports on the owners and the $295 entry fee.
  3. Attend the six workshops that lead you through the idea WF and business planning processes.
  4. Submit your business plan draft for feedback.
  5. Receive feedback and refine your plan by working with consultants at the Dillard College of Business at MSU Texas.
  6. Submit your final business plan.
  7. Attend the “How to Pitch a Plan to Investors” workshop.
  8. Work with consultants to develop and perfect your pitch
  9. Make your pitch.
  10. Attend the awards ceremony.
The 2021 Awards Luncheon will be held on Friday, October 22nd, at the Clark Student Center, in the Comanche Suites on the MSU Texas campus. This year’s finalists are Artodigy, Falls Metal Fabrication, Hospice@Home, Molina Montessori, and Texoma eSports.  Tickets are available until Oct 20th or until sold out at $20.00 per person or $140 per table (seats 8).
The keynote speaker will be Parker Coddington, Co-Founder and Partner of TOP FEC. He understands what it takes to meet a payroll, manage over 100 employees, and how to develop a solid strategy that drives revenue. Coddington will dive deep into the biggest hurdles small businesses face and provide real-life solutions.