Business center to offer free courses

Students wanting to learn about business through Southern are in good hands with the business classes offered for free through the Small Business and Technology Development Center. These classes, which include How to Write a Successful Business Plan and Starting a Small Business: The First Steps, are offered the first and third Friday of the month, respectively. 

Lisa Robinson, Director of the Small Business and Technology Development Center, explained that the classes learn about business, whether it’s “online, retail, service based, whatever it’s going to be.

The classes are free for students because the department that offers them is funded through a federal grant. 

The grant, which comes to Southern through the University of Missouri, not only allows the department to put on their classes, but also to work with business owners or aspiring business owners, called pre-venture, to help start up their business.  

In addition to helping the department help business students, it also allows the department access to the University of Missouri’s library.

“It’s the best job in the world,” Robinson said. 

The grant also allows the network to purchase databases, which can be used to help business owners or aspiring business owners. Data, such as business financials, can be provided to people to help them plan ahead in their business.

The classes provided by the department, taught by consultants Karen Bradshaw and Ken Surbugg, are set up to help students learn what it takes to own a business.

“It truly takes some of the mystery out of starting a small business and shows them what they should be prepared for,” said Robinson. 

The department, which was founded on April 1, 1987, is located at the Plaster School of Business. Robinson has been working there for 23 years, and Karen Bradshaw has worked there since the day the department opened.

If students are interested in attending Starting a Small Business: The First Steps or How to Write a Successful Business Plan, the classes will be held of February 19 and March 4, respectively. More information about classes and other services the department offers can be found at