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Jay Snider

Palo Alto Software and OSBDC Partnership

by Jay Snider

Palo Alto Software and the Oregon Small Business Development Center Network (OSBDCN) are proud to announce a collaborative partnership to develop the Technology Impact Program (TIP), an integrated learning management system designed to bring educational content and technology resources to entrepreneurs and small business owners.

“We frequently encounter clients who are challenged to travel from rural or remote areas to take advantage of our services,” stated Mark Gregory, OSBDCN Deputy State Director. “In addition to distance, our business owner clientele have difficulty meeting with our professional advisors face-to-face due to time and scheduling constraints. We’re thrilled to work with Palo Alto Software to develop a system to leverage technology in order to overcome these challenges.”

The TIP tools will utilize the existing OSBDCN’s state-wide client management system. Advisors throughout Oregon enroll new clients in the system, and those clients then have access to a personal dashboard that includes resources recommended by their advisor.

Palo Alto Software is working with the OSBDCN to incorporate a sophisticated learning management tool into the existing client dashboard. Course content will be delivered electronically and will include video, slides, notes and other materials associated with completing classes online. Clients can complete highly informative courses at their own pace, starting at any time, rather than waiting for the next class session or enrollment period. The system incorporates interactive tools that allow advisors and clients to work together as courses are completed.

Additionally, TIP includes access to LivePlan, Palo Alto Software’s new online business planning tool. LivePlan’s highly collaborative features allow client and advisor to work hand-in-hand to complete a lender-ready business plan. As an online application, LivePlan is accessible from any computer with an internet connection, and OSBDCN clients will have access to LivePlan directly through their personal dashboard.

According to Palo Alto Software CEO, Sabrina Parsons, “This project is well aligned with our focus on developing tools and educational content that empower entrepreneurs and small business owners. We’re excited to work with the OSBDCN to bring these resources to their counselors and clients.”

One of the first courses to be offered through TIP is “How to Start a Business.” The course was developed by Palo Alto Software founder and president, Tim Berry. OSBDCN advisors will have the ability to enroll clients in the course beginning in the second quarter of 2012. An additional 20 courses are planned for the project’s initial four-year phase.

About the OSBDCN
The OSBDCN is a well-established partnership among 17 community colleges, three state universities, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), and the Oregon Business Development Department (OBDD). Since its inception in 1983, the OSBDCN has provided one-on-one advising to more than 150,000 current and prospective businesses throughout Oregon. More than 560,000 individuals have attended OSBDCN-sponsored business education classes and events. For more information about the OSBDCN, visit http://www.bizcenter.org