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UW-Eau Claire SBDC celebrates client's success in state contest

| Judy Berthiaume

The UW-Eau Claire Small Business Development Center is celebrating the success of one of its clients, North Star Fire, an Eau Claire startup that is the grand prizewinner in the 2017 Wisconsin Governor’s Business Plan Contest.

The UW-Eau Claire SBDC provided counseling to Jeff Dykes, a captain in the Eau Claire Fire Department, who has developed an electronic compass that fits inside a firefighter’s face mask to show the firefighter the direction he or she is going even in zero-visibility conditions.

“SBDC Director Luke Kempen humbly points out that the entrepreneur deserves the credit for this award,” says Dr. Durwin A. Long, executive director of UW-Eau Claire’s Student Services and Continuing Education. “The role of the SBDC’s counselors is to help clients like Northern Star Fire hone their business plans so that they capture the attention of investors or, in the case of Northern Star Fire, the Governor’s Business Plan content judges.”

The success of North Star Fire reflects the extraordinary work Kempen and SBDC consultant Dave Kochendorfer do to support local entrepreneurs, Long says.

“Their focus on serving customers is the foundation of the SBDC’s success and a great example of the positive impact UW-Eau Claire is having on the Chippewa Valley and beyond,” Long says.

This spring, Kempen and Kochendorfer were recognized for excellence in entrepreneurship by the Wisconsin district of the U.S. Small Business Administration.

Read a news story about North Star Fire winning the state contest.

Photo caption: Through UW-Eau Claire’s SBDC, Dave Kochendorfer (left) and Luke Kempen work with local entrepreneurs to hone their business plans.