Michelle Somes-Booher had been helping entrepreneurs and small business owners get their companies off the ground long before she became director of the Small Business Development Center in Madison.
Somes-Booher, 49, manages a team of eight employees at the center, which is celebrating its 40th year along with the rest of the federal Small Business Development Center program. She and her team help anyone from entrepreneurs with an idea written on a paper napkin to owners of growing small businesses who need to learn to manage larger teams.
The center is based in Grainger Hall on the UW-Madison campus and is open to anyone in Dane, Columbia and Sauk counties. The center follows the federal Small Business Administration definition of a small business, which is any company with fewer than 500 employees, but Somes-Booher said her center’s “sweet spot” is with startups.
The center doesn’t have a focus on any one industry over another, so Somes-Booher and her team have worked with manufacturers, software developers, construction businesses and more.