With the coming of a new year, it’s natural to start looking ahead and putting plans into place, but it is equally important to take a step back and reflect on this past year. And wow, was 2020 quite a year.
In 2020, small businesses were crippled by the COVID pandemic, and the Michigan SBDC responded with clarity, options and hope. As the pandemic started, the SBDC gathered partners, pivoted to virtual service delivery, simplified access to support programs, and became the “source of truth” for small businesses statewide. We utilized our partnerships at both the state and federal level and expanded our own team to ensure that many business owners were able to hold on to their dreams. Their business is our passion, and we take pride in the fact that we offered hope to so many.
2020 also forced us to pivot, work remotely, and rely on technology like never before. Through this process, we learned what works and what needs improvement. Normal systems were stressed, yet we persevered through the thoughtful acquisition of services and talent. Finally, soaring demand revealed “potholes” in our systems that has us looking into a technical overhaul in 2021.
In a way, I’m thankful for the many lessons of 2020. We had to practice what we preach and pivot our operations to make us better prepared to service Michigan’s entrepreneurs. Because of these changes, we’ve created the foundation that will sustain the SBDC for the next generation.
While 2020 came with its challenges, it also taught us to reflect, adapt, and persevere. And we look forward to taking what we learned with us in 2021 and beyond.
–J.D. Collins, State Director, Michigan SBDC