Small Business and Technology Development Center

August 3, 2017

Written by Emmaleigh Zahnd | Photos by Patrick Evenson


DEFINITION: A feeling of trust in one’s abilities, qualities, and judgment.

Life as a seven-year-old is mostly fun, games and cartoons until the day a very important question is asked, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”

For some, that childhood idea might hold true, and for others, another takes its place over the years. For three different businesses and their owners, passion for an idea came later in life. Each one of them have had an unwavering belief in the need for their services … and confidence in their ability to help others at a level above current marketplace expectations. Quality and genuine care for the well-being of their clients is a shared trait.

Owners Jason Douglas, Tad Ulmer, Tiffany Brinton and Charmaine Woods were all in the same position of having the desire to start a small business, but were also stuck with not having some of the key information needed to move forward. The road ahead of them was long and nerve-wracking.

“God waited ‘tll the very last second to make sure we were committed,” shared Jason and Tad, business partners of Comfort of Home Healthcare as they described investing every personal asset they had and waiting for that first dollar of profit they could take home. “Rebecca helped with our projections, she helped set up our first office and is still helping alongside us today with new issues that arise.”

During tough times of scarcity all of these owners had supportive feedback and guidance from many sources including the Small Business and Technology Development Center led throughout northwest Missouri by Rebecca Lobina. Every time one of them has had a challenge thinking ‘Well, what do I do now?’, the Center has steered them in the right direction with information, facilitation, and affirmations of their successful milestones.

“I can go to her with anything, she’s not just there for me one time. She is more like a partner; the partner I have needed being self employed,” said Tiffany Brinton, owner of One Step Ahead Early Learning Center.

Tiffany sought out Rebecca when she was having accounting questions and the bank referred her to the SBTDC. “Rebecca has helped with everything from our finances to HR [human resources] issues and researching every little bit of information to ensure I was doing exactly what was best for my business to succeed.”

Charmaine Woods, owner of Char’s Circuit, expressed the “tremendous help” the SBTDC has given to her business when Charmaine believed there was an unmet significant need for an all women’s gym in St. Joseph. There is not one within 60 miles of the city.

“I didn’t know where to start so she helped with everything. She gave me a checklist and here I am,” said Charmaine.

According to those she works with, Rebecca is overflowing with intelligence, positivity and resources to help entrepreneurs transform their ideas into successful businesses. Focused on creating economic impact through the counseling and training of businesses with fewer than 500 employees, the Small Business and Technology Development Center located in St. Joseph within the offices of the St. Joseph Chamber of Commerce is part of a large cooperative network of Centers sponsored by the U.S. Small Business Administration and directed by institutions of higher learning. Our SBTDC here falls under the management umbrella of Northwest Missouri State University in nearby Maryville, Mo.

Not only does the SBTDC help hundreds of small business owners capitalize on their dreams, it is a great example of how government agencies, higher education, and nonprofit organizations can work together for the greater good. Competition has its time and place, while collaboration creates a healthier market space.

St. Joseph has proven over and over that entrepreneurial individuals made with energetic self-belief in their idea can quickly grow.


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