Indiana State University Newsroom

Indiana State MBA grad tapped as Small Business Development Center director

April 2, 2015

Indiana State University alumna Courtney Richey has been named the director for the West-Central Indiana Small Business Development Center operated on campus.

Richey, who assumed the position in late March, received an undergraduate degree in marketing from Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College and started managing for a small business in Decatur, Ill., before returning to Indiana for her Master of Business Administration degree, which she received in 2010 from Indiana State.

As an Indiana State student, Richey served as a graduate assistant and helped lead the MBA program's recruitment efforts, which was an experience that helped her in her position as director of graduate admissions at The Woods.

The position quickly turned into one of business engagement, which allowed Richey to develop business relationships in Terre Haute, where she became entwined in the downtown area and the Chamber of Commerce.

"My passion has always been small business, and I learned what it takes to run a successful operation in Terre Haute," she said. "When I was in the MBA program I did a lot of volunteering that I thought at the time I was doing to build my portfolio to go work in advertising in a corporation. Then I did a volunteer experience with a local daycare and it was pretty life-changing.

"What I found was that a lot of times people start a business because they're good at the subject matter, but when they get into the business they have to deal with finance and marketing that they may not necessarily be good at or love to do. They get bogged down and it takes away from their passion and makes it harder for them to be successful."

That's where Richey hopes she can be of help as the director of the SDBC.

"I love financing, strategic planning and building partnerships with businesses," she said. "When this position came open I felt it was a perfect fit and I hope to alleviate some of the starting or growing pains for small businesses owners."

Richey hopes the SBDC will be great resource to help entrepreneurs streamline the process of opening a new business or marketing a new product.

"When a business owner says they want to grow or startup, we want to have a road map for them based on their business needs," she said. "More times than not, they need to start at our office because we do business planning at the core. Then, we'll have a framework of other entrepreneurial assisting partners on campus and throughout the area, which will take a lot of time out of the learning curve for a new entrepreneur."

The center serves Vigo, Clay, Owen, Parke, Putnam and Sullivan counties, and Richey wants to reach out into the outlying areas to provide more support businesses in those communities.

"When people want to start a business and they're trying to figure out where to start, it's not cheap to enlist business counseling but we help them for free - providing market research, business plan development, strategic planning and detailed pro forma financials," she said. "We're able to be a collective network of resources and I want more people to utilize the center so they are successful faster. I hope people in the community and on campus will talk with us and see how we can collaborate to make the center and the small business community in our surrounding area more successful."

Photo: Courtney Richey

Contact: Courtney Richey, director, West-Central Indiana Small Business Development Center,

Writer: Betsy Simon, media relations assistant director, Office of Communications and Marketing, Indiana State University, 812-237-7972 or