Heights Libraries and CSU bring Small Business Development Center to the Library

The new Heights Knowledge and Innovation Center at Heights Libraries is nearing completion. Photo by Colin Tomele.

The Cleveland Heights-University Heights Public Library will partner with Cleveland State University’s (CSU) Monte Ahuja College of Business and the City of Cleveland Heights to move the existing Small Business Development Center (SBDC) to its new Heights Knowledge and Innovation Center in the west wing of the Lee Road Library. 

This move will increase the customer base of the SBDC, currently located in Cleveland Heights City Hall, and enable those seeking advice on business plans, marketing, staffing or other related issues to use the library’s resources to put their plans into action. 

“We are a model for the whole country,” said Nancy Levin, Heights Libraries director. “We will be documenting our activities so that other libraries can follow our lead. This is a partnership that makes complete sense.”

Jim Kraft, director of the Cuyahoga County SBDC at CSU and a graduate student at CSU’s Monte Ahuja College of Business, will staff the SBDC. Kraft has been advising small business owners for more than 20 years.

Staff will be funded by the Ohio Department of Development and the U.S. Small Business Administration. There are 39 SBDCs in the state of Ohio.

“Locating the CSU SBDC in the Heights Knowledge and Innovation Center (HKIC) opens a new avenue for the small business person in the region,” said Kraft. “Combining the resources of the CSU SBDC and the library will give small businesses access to information in a whole new way. The CSU SBDC will be able to utilize all of the databases that are available and will be able to pass this on to our clients. This partnership is a first in the SBDC network and we are excited to be part of it.”

“We are very enthusiastic about this opportunity to collaborate with Heights Libraries to advance economic development in the region and hope to set a positive example for other SBDCs and library systems to follow,” said Steve Percy, dean of the Monte Ahuja College of Business.

The new HKIC at Heights Libraries will include:

  • An improved computer lab with 26 roomy work stations and computers featuring Microsoft Office software
  • Expanded wireless access in the HKIC lounge area
  • Two small meeting rooms
  • iPad rental (coming in July)
  • A special collection of business- and technology-related books and magazines
  • A production work area and office supplies such as a copier, printer, scanner and fax machine 
  • A video, sound and digital media lab

The building currently houses Dobama Theatre, which will not be affected by the renovation, and Family Connections' Little Heights Literacy Playroom, which will move to the space currently occupied by the Library’s existing computer lab. 

The grand opening for the HKIC will be on Sunday, June 2, 1-4 p.m. at the Lee Road Library, 2345 Lee Road. The SBDC will open later that month.

Sheryl Banks

Sheryl Banks is the marketing and community relations manager for the Cleveland Heights-University Heights Public Library.

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Volume 6, Issue 5, Posted 4:43 PM, 04.30.2013