The full title of Cole’s job – Cowley College outreach consultant for the Wichita State University Kansas Small Business Development Center – is a mouthful. But he says his role is pretty simple.
“I work with new and existing small businesses to help get them started or help them grow,” he said.
Cole serves seven counties: Cowley, Sumner, Harper, Barber, Pratt, Kingman and Stafford. His office is in the Strother Field airport terminal building about midway between Winfield and Arkansas City.
Cole, 34, earned a bachelor’s degree from LeTourneau University in Longview, Texas, and a master’s degree in business administration from Emporia State. He’s worked in banking and higher education. He owns an employee assessment company called Centaur Solutions and teaches part time at Cowley College. A member of the Wyandotte tribe of Oklahoma, he’s also pursuing his executive tribal planning certification.
Cole started at the outreach center in late October. Among his first clients was a grocery store.
Typical services, paid for by state and federal funds, include helping a business get a start-up or expansion loan, conduct market research, become a franchise operation and hire or retain employees. Clients can range from one-person shops to operations with hundreds of employees and millions of dollars in revenue.
“It’s almost easier to say what we don’t do,” he said. “We don’t offer legal advice.”
He can be reached at email@example.com.
Cole and his wife have two sons. Outside work, he officiates at high school sporting events, and he’s worked the last three state basketball tournaments.