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UMD partners with Chamber for business

The University of Minnesota-Duluth's downtown presence will play a more direct role in local business development. Through a partnership with the Duluth Area Chamber of Commerce, the UMD Center for Economic Development will help meet the professi...

The University of Minnesota-Duluth's downtown presence will play a more direct role in local business development.
Through a partnership with the Duluth Area Chamber of Commerce, the UMD Center for Economic Development will help meet the professional training needs of the local business community.
The Chamber will begin promoting the center's Professional Development Program to its 1,226 members through its newsletter, Web site and monthly magazine.
The program in the Duluth Technology Village provides year-round training. It offers workshops and seminars on business and employment issues, business planning, taxes, Web site development and software training.
"We're excited to work in partnership with the UMD Center for Economic Development to make their innovative programs available to our members," said David Ross, Chamber president and CEO. He described it as an evolving partnership that has been ongoing for a couple of years. Combining their efforts in a more formal fashion will bring the strengths of the two organizations together, Ross said.
"Approximately 48 percent of Chamber members are either small business or micro business owners, with five or fewer employees," he said. "The focus of the center's program clearly meets the needs of our members."
He added that it would bring educational opportunities to a new level of sophistication.
The partnership between the Chamber and the center grew out of a relationship that started in 1999, when the center moved into the Technology Village. At that time, the Chamber began working with the center to present monthly professional development luncheon programs downtown. That series continues Oct. 2.
"The UMD Center for Economic Development is pleased to be part of this endeavor," said director Stephen L. Marder, Ph.D. "Part of our mission is to support diversification ... to try and support the private sector to increase revenue, decrease operating expenses and become more profitable."
"... A quality training program helps our workforce become more efficient, and by improving efficiency, we're helping businesses to grow and prosper."
Though the partnership actually started developing before the economy softened, Ross said it comes at a time when small businesses need it.
This fall, the center will offer 144 professional development courses by working with the Chamber and other training partners. The center will pilot an online course for entrepreneurs.

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