Perham's small businesses are vital, and this organization can help

The West Central Minnesota Small Business Development Center visited Perham on Wednesday, March 15, to offer free consultations for any small business owners.

People from around Perham connect at the Perham Chamber of Commerce office during the Small Business Development Center's visit to town.
Elizabeth Vierkant / Perham Focus

PERHAM — Towns like Perham often rely on small businesses in order to thrive, bringing in commerce from tourists and allowing locals to continue shopping within their own community. The goal of the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) is to provide free technical assistance and consulting to these small businesses, helping them prepare financial projections and statements and whatever else they might need to keep thriving in their communities.

Having recently moved to a new main office at the Minnesota State Community and Technical College in Moorhead, the West Central Minnesota SBDC stopped by different communities they serve throughout nine different counties, including Perham, for SBDC Day on Wednesday, March 15. Anyone who stopped by the Perham Area Chamber of Commerce could chat with representatives from the SBDC, receive free business consultations and learn what they're all about.

"Our goal today was to get out to as many different communities in our region as possible," said West Central Minnesota SBDC Associate Director Amy Anderson. "We haven't hit every community yet, but we're trying to hit a lot and just meet people in those communities and tell them what we do and learn about how we can help support this community better. It's nine counties that we serve. So, Otter Tail County is one of nine counties, and we want to understand how we could support people here in Perham and what resources we can collaborate with for small businesses."

Serving Clay, Becker, Otter Tail, Wilkin, Grant, Douglas, Traverse, Pope and Stevens counties, West Central Minnesota SBDC hopes to soon have offices available in Fergus Falls and Detroit Lakes to meet and consult with as many clients as possible.

"Small businesses are really important, and we like to throw any opportunities we think can help," said Leah Monson, Perham Area Chamber of Commerce marketing director. "This is more of a broad organization that can help out. We (the chamber) do our day-to-day stuff, but they can do more reach with how they can spread the word and the services that they have and can offer. (They can) tap into different services we may not have access to as far as funding, capital and that kind of stuff for small businesses."


Anderson explained, "Rural needs are different than larger city needs, and so when small businesses don't have that support, it has an impact on the community. So, if you lose your local consignment shop where you're getting your kid's jackets and shirts or whatever, that's not a resource. You have to drive to get it in a different community. So we want to make sure that every local economy has that strong, solid business plan and that they've got resources. They need to run their business well so that they can continue for as long as they want to run their business."

If a small business wants to contact West Central Minnesota SBDC for any free services or consultations, they can call Anderson's office at 218-299-6605 or register on their website at

Elizabeth (she/her), 24, graduated with a degree in Journalism and Communications from the University of Wisconsin–Stout in 2020. Elizabeth has always had a passion for telling stories about people and specializes in community features, which she uses for her Perham-centered content.
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