MAMTC and SBDCs - Each with a Part to Play

By Steve Davis on December 22, 2016


Thanks to the state of Kansas and the US Small Business Administration, folks wanting to start a business

or grow an existing one have access anywhere in our state to free assistance.  There are currently 9 Small Business Development Center (SBDC) offices located strategically throughout Kansas whose sole purpose it is to help entrepreneurs and smaller manufacturers find success in business.  The assistance they receive usually involves help in developing business plans and general counseling.   SBDCs help guide new and smaller existing companies with issues such as marketing, finance, taxes, and regulatory issues to name just a few.

As startups and existing entities further mature, the SBDCs will point clients in the direction of service providers who do charge fees for their services.  Lenders, accountants, marketing groups and website developers are among those tasked with taking new companies to the next level.  Generally, SBDCs work with retailers, office businesses, and even some small manufacturers with few employees.  Realizing that these newer companies often do not have significant funds, SBDCs, by law, are required to offer the bulk of their services at no charge. 

MAMTC is something of a different animal.  Like the SBDCs, MAMTC has received some of its funding from federal sources.  The NIST Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) has provided a portion of MAMTC’s operating monies at essentially the same level since our beginnings in 1991.  And while we are a wholly owned subsidiary of the Kansas Department of Commerce, we do not receive any funding from that, our parent agency.

In the early days, when we did receive some funding from the state (KTEC), we were able to offer what were called “Informal Engagements” – free assistance to manufacturers when we helped with various projects lasting 8 or fewer hours. But KTEC ceased operations in 2011.

Unlike the SB

DCs, MAMTC’s work is usually performed with Kansas’ more established manufacturers.  And, as has always been the case, we are charged with helping these more mature clients with improving both their top and bottom lines.  This more often than not, requires significant customized projects of considerable duration that involve our project managers and/or third party providers.  In some cases, our work in the area of continuous improvement for a single company has stretched out for years rather than days.  In most cases, our projects involve providing customized services clearly enumerated in a legal contract signed by all parties.

MAMTC and our project managers and engineers do, therefore, charge fees for our work – and it is work we are able to provide to manufacturers throughout the state from seven Kansas locations. From a company and board perspective, this helps to validate that our work with you, the manufacturing sector, has value.

NIST saw a need many years ago for manufacturers in more rural states to have far better access to the kind of expertise that MEP centers like MAMTC can offer.  Our competitive fee for service structure along with NIST’s nominal funding allows us to employ talented engineers and highly experienced service providers here in Kansas.  Where SBDCs have a part to play with startups and smaller manufacturers early on, MAMTC provides in depth customized services for our more mature clients as they continue to seek to improve both their top and bottom lines.   

Still curious, or want to learn more? Give me a call, I'm here to help.