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Increase Outreach through Co-Branding. Question: How was the small rural City of Chelsea, Michigan able to become a 5-Star City for entrepreneurial climate? Answer: Through the use of co-branding and collaboration between the MI-SBTDC and the Chelsea District Library. Library-Biz Connect.

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Increase Outreach through Co-Branding

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  • How was the small rural City of Chelsea, Michigan able to become a 5-Star City for entrepreneurial climate?


  • Through the use of co-branding and collaboration between the MI-SBTDC and the Chelsea District Library.

Library-Biz Connect


Co-Branding: Why?

  • When effectively done, co-branding provides a way for organizations to combine forces so that their marketing efforts work in synergy.
  • Capitalizing on each other's resources for cost savings.
  • From an organizational perspective co-branding represents an opportunity for a win-win scenario.

Co-Branding Advantages


Co-Branding: Who?

  • Select a highly reputable partner organization.
  • Select a complementary or synergistic partner organization.
  • Select a partner organization within the same regional area.
  • Select a partner organization with a proven history of successfully serving your target population.

Co-Branding Guidelines


Co-Branding: Who?

Local Partners

  • Community Ownership
  • Appropriate Technology or Facilities
  • Knowledge to Implement Programs
  • Aware of Small Business Issues
  • Measure and Monitor Success

Co-Branding Guidelines



Why Libraries & SBDC’s?


SBDC’s Need

  • Greater Public Awareness of Available Services
  • Clients for Consulting
  • Space for Business Workshops
  • Private Areas for Consulting
  • Small Business Champions


Why Libraries & SBDC’s?


Public Libraries Need

  • Innovative Workshops for Adult Patrons
  • Greater Public Awareness of


  • Larger Participation in the

Local Community

  • Increased Use of Library


  • Library Champions


Why Libraries & SBDC’s?

a view from the outside1

Community College


Public Libraries

A view from the outside:


Local Banks


Local First Movements

Chambers of Commerce

Business District Associations



University Libraries

Local Newspapers


Local Entities that exist in most communities

Main Street





Chambers of


Local First


Local Banks




Public Library










National and/or

Regional Business

Service Organizations

Entities that serve large geographic areas.

who are we


  • Public Libraries
    • In and around Washtenaw, Livingston, Wayne, Lenawee and Hillsdale Counties
    • Academic Libraries
    • Washtenaw Community College
    • University of Michigan and Eastern Michigan University
  • Michigan eLibrary

Small Business

Service Organizations

  • National Organizations
    • SBDC
    • SCORE
  • Local Chambers
  • Local Organizations
    • Arts Meets Business
    • Business Consultants
    • SPARK Ann Arbor
    • Food System Economic Partnership
Who are we?

Mission statement:

  • To provide access to a network of business information and support services for new and existing small businesses.

We aim to:

  • Position public libraries as the local portal for economic development.
  • Connect average businesses to knowledge, data, training, and business counseling in an approachable environment.
  • Pool regional resources to benefit our local communities.
co branding benefits


  • Lower or maintain operating costs by leveraging
  • shared resources
  • Larger geographic reach
  • Free marketing
  • Free space for workshops and one-on-one
  • counseling
  • Reduce risk of trying something new - learn from
  • each other’s mistakes and success
  • Identify new markets
  • Deepen community relationships
  • Can focus on what you do REALLY well
Co-Branding Benefits
co branding benefits1


  • Show off - Librarians know how to get

business information, that’s powerful!

  • Usage statistics to provide stakeholders
  • Recommendations for collection development
  • Education about resources
  • Deepen community relationships
  • More patrons and new audiences for


  • Build relationships to access resources
Co-Branding Benefits
biz resource centers
Spring 2009

Fall 2010

  • WCC’s Bailey Library
  • Ypsilanti District Library
  • Chelsea District Library
  • Dexter District Library
  • Jackson District Library & Food System Economic Partnership (FSEP)
  • Brighton District Library

57 miles

32 miles

48 miles

Biz Resource Centers
biz resource centers1


The Biz Resource Center is a partnership program between local libraries or organizations and the Michigan Small Business & Technology Development Center.

  • One-stop locations where current and future small business owners can receive business assistance and advice.
  • The latest computer technology, hardware and software, and extensive small business reference library of hard copy books, and publications.
  • Software for a variety of business applications, addressing diverse business.
Biz Resource Centers
roles responsibilities1


  • Marketing
  • Presenters for business workshops
  • One-on-one consultations
  • Doing what we do REALLY well, working with business owners
  • Stay up to date on what resources are available
  • Marketing
  • Program offerings: workshops on business topics
  • Facilities for workshops and business counseling
  • Refer patrons to appropriate resource
  • Internally educate staff about the collaborative
Roles & Responsibilities
co branding at work

Putting it to Use in a Public Library

  • Grow Your Business 1:1 Consulting monthly
  • Taking Care of Business Workshops
    • Fundamentals of Starting Your Own Business
    • Writing a Business Plan
    • Finance: What Your Small Business Must Know
    • Marketing Your Business Online
    • Borrow A Business Expert
    • Food, Farming and Business
Co-Branding at Work
co branding at work1

It’s all about who you know!

  • Speakers found through contacts with libraries
  • These contacts are crucial for successful marketing as well
  • Expanding your own contacts
  • Outreach to your audience
Co-Branding at Work
co branding at work3

Lessons Learned

  • Don’t do it by yourself because you don’t have to
  • The business world is about networking, and by networking with libraries SBDC’s can better meet the needs of business owners
  • Ask to be asked
  • It works…
Co-Branding at Work
co branding at work4

Defining Differences:

  • Approachable environment
  • Known community entity
  • Accessible facility
  • Distributed workload
  • Pooled resources
Co-Branding at Work
local recognition

Visible Asset to the Community

  • Chelsea named 5-Star City for entrepreneurial climate for our “work to foster economic development.”
  • Library’s partnership with SBTDC recognized alongside tax incentives and the Downtown Development Authority.
Local Recognition
action steps

Start somewhere

  • Find a Fit
  • Utilize your local connections
  • Know your resources
  • Ignore the naysayers
  • Outreach: Don’t wait to be asked
Action Steps
contact information

Shannon Beeman, MI-SBTDC

  • Washtenaw Community College

301 West Michigan Ave, Ypsilanti, MI


Victoria Bennett, WCC

  • Washtenaw Community College

4800 E Huron River, Ann Arbor, MI


Contact Information