University of Wisconsin-River Falls

News Source

Jan. 23, 2004


New Director Taking UW-RF's SBDC in New Directions
By Sarah Matara
UW-RF News Bureau

The new director at the UW-River Falls Small Business Development Center is returning to his roots in the hope of aiding the economic development of his hometown area.

River Falls native Christopher Bye was recently named the Center's new director. The Center serves Pierce, Polk and St. Croix counties. Consulting services are free.

Bye received his master's from UW-Madison in marketing and performed doctoral work in entrepreneurship and strategy. While at UW-Madison, he taught small business management classes. He also taught small business management and entrepreneurship at the University of St. Thomas. Bye has worked as a consultant with many small businesses throughout Minnesota and Wisconsin. These businesses vary from a furniture store to a biotechnology company.

Bye will be working with administrator Lori Clark to raise awareness about the Center.

"Not many people know we exist. Anyone who is starting a business, I want this to be the first place they call," Bye said.

The Small Business Development Center assists those wanting to launch new businesses and also offers free counseling and training opportunities to existing businesses. It is a valuable asset in the growing I-94 corridor, where new businesses are developing every day.

Bye said there are many steps a business can do to eliminate the possibility of failure, and the Center is there to provide information and aid through training and assistance.

The Center also aids existing businesses by answering questions and providing entrepreneurs with business counselors in different areas of expertise throughout the community.

Bye said that someone doesn't just wake up one day and decide to start a business.

"Entrepreneurship is an ongoing process. ThatŐs what we want to teach. We will be active and reach out in the community and provide classes that people will talk about," Bye said.

The classes will help entrepreneurs determine if there is a need and the size of the potential market for their businesses. Offerings will also focus on marketing, finances and small business strategy.

Bye said the class called "Understanding Financials" is unique because it is unlike any class offered at other small business development centers in the UW System. It is designed to take away the intimidation of finances and will help people look at money differently than they are used to.

Bye is the brother of 1998 Olympic gold medallist and 2002 silver medallist Karyn Bye. His father, Chuck Bye, is a local attorney.

For more information about the Small Business Development Center, contact Bye at 715/425-0620 or by email at christopher.bye@uwrf.edu.

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