The SBDC at UW-Eau Claire Selected for Wisconsin Top Rural Development Initiative Honor

UW-Eau Claire Small Business Clinics have been selected to receive the Wisconsin Rural Partners, Inc. 2023 Top Rural Development Initiative award. The award was presented at the Wisconsin Rural Partners (WRP) 2023 Rural Summit in Mauston on April 27.

UW-Eau Claire Small Business Clinics are an in-person rural outreach initiative developed and run by student consultants at the Small Business Development Center at UW-Eau Claire. The Clinics provide one-on-one technical assistance and resources to Wisconsin rural business owners.  Clinic topics include QuickBooks, finance, marketing, general business startup, legal and cybersecurity, among others. Two clinics were held in Rice Lake and Abbotsford in 2022 and served 52 clients. Additional clinics are being planned in nearby counties in 2023.

This project provides rural economic development outreach, as well as providing student training and business experience.

“Wisconsin Rural Partners applauds the UW-Eau Claire Small Business Clinics as an outstanding example of the many efforts across the state that improve the lives of citizens in rural Wisconsin,” said Sandy Decker, WRP president. “This is an excellent collaborative model for serving small rural Wisconsin communities.”

Other projects receiving recognition as 2023 Top Rural Development Initiatives are Wisconsin Women in Conservation, Antigo Child Care Center, and The Meadows in Darlington.

Wisconsin Rural Partners is the state’s federally-designated rural development council. Committed to improving the quality of life in rural Wisconsin, WRP is a non-partisan forum for identifying, discussing, and addressing rural issues. Through collaborations with a wide array of partners, including local, county, state, tribal, and federal governments, as well as for-profit businesses, non-profit organizations, and rural citizens, WRP fosters and promotes locally-based solutions to rural needs and issues. 

This is the twenty-third year that WRP has recognized Wisconsin’s Top Rural Development Initiatives.  “The program is designed to identify, highlight, and share innovative models, practices and programs that have a positive impact on rural Wisconsin communities,” said Errin Welty, WRP past-president. “WRP created the program to provide a mechanism for rural communities to learn from each other and we are pleased to report that many of the award winners are still actively operating in their communities.”

Additional information about Wisconsin Rural Partners and the Top Rural Development Initiatives can be found at

Stauffacher named Wisconsin SBDC Network’s 2023 ‘State Star’

David Stauffacher, business consultant at the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at UW-Green Bay, was chosen by his peers as the Wisconsin network’s 2023 State Star.