2022 State Star: Michelle Kloske
The Alabama SBDC Network has selected Michelle Kloske, Senior Business Advisor for the Alabama SBDC at UAH, as the 2022 State Star in recognition of her contributions in serving Alabama’s small business community. Kloske received the honor alongside her peers at the national SBDC conference in San Diego, CA.
The State Star award is given annually to an outstanding business advisor from each SBDC network. Criteria include showing a strong commitment to small business success, making significant contributions to the state SBDC program and being an exemplary performer.
“Michelle Kloske exemplifies the mission of the Alabama SBDC at UAH to help entrepreneurs and small business owners start and grow their businesses,” says Dean of the UAH College of Business, Jason Greene. “These small businesses are essential to the economic vitality of our community, and Michelle has worked tirelessly to help them thrive in the face of challenges over the last few years. She is a star who shines brightly in our community. We are very proud of Michelle and her dedication to her clients that this recognition reflects.”
“I was honored at America’s SBDC 43rd Annual Conference with the State Star award for my work,” the honoree says. “I am so proud to have represented UAH on a national level. At the UAH SBDC, we work with a wide variety of clients, from cottage bakers to engineers. We offer no-cost advising and training services to help businesses start and grow. Starting a business in Alabama can be confusing, and we work to help entrepreneurs to achieve their goals. I truly love my job.”
Kloske is a 1993 graduate of the UAH College of Business with a bachelor’s degree in accounting. She is a business advisor and training coordinator at the UAH SBDC. At the outset of the pandemic, she was instrumental in pivoting the SBDC training programs at the UAH SBDC to an online virtual format, allowing the center to offer high-quality online training programs in demand by a large client base during challenging times.
“Early on in the pandemic, I shifted our training programs online out of necessity,” Kloske explains. “Since January 2021, the UAH SBDC has hosted 104 live webinars to educate small businesses statewide.”
The alumna advised approximately 600 unique clients over the past two years through SBDC events and one-on-one advisory meetings and supported more than 50 business start-ups, continuing to facilitate the center’s How to Start a Business program each month.
Kloske has proven to be one of the state’s top performers in helping entrepreneurs start their business in Alabama. She assisted in securing key speakers and trainers for a variety of programs made possible by supplemental Cares Act funding. Her training and outreach efforts over the past year have enabled the UAH SBDC to grow its client base and increase its visibility in the small business community it serves.
“Michelle Kloske has been such a valuable resource for starting our engineering company,” says Jason Pohly of Romach Technologies. “She is so incredibly helpful, encouraging and kind. We really appreciate her.”
Another local entrepreneur noted, “Michelle really takes the time to understand your business and guide you. I am starting a business for the first time, and without her I would be absolutely lost.”
Kloske focuses particularly on assisting clients in the retail and service business and food and beverage clients, helping them navigate the complex nuances of these industries. She was born and raised in Tampa, FL., and began her career as an accountant specializing in payroll, taxes and government reporting for a defense contractor in the 8A program in Huntsville.
“Michelle is such a fabulous team member and asset to the community,” says the UAH Center Director, Hilary Claybourne. “If asked, Michelle delivers. If needed, Michelle volunteers. If confused, Michelle will figure it out! She is simply a great team member helping to grow our community, one business at a time!”
UAH has been part of the SBDC Network since its inception in 1980. The network is a statewide program funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). It provides no-cost management and technical assistance to small businesses in all 67 Alabama counties.
The Alabama SBDC seeks to unlock the potential of any business by providing business expertise normally reserved for large, established companies. Business advisors provide the state small business community with guidance on growing or starting a business, accessing capital, selling to the federal government or exploring international trade.
Over the last five years, the Alabama SBDC has helped over 1,100 businesses get a start and facilitated over $520 million in capital for growing (and recovering) small businesses, resulting in over 4,500 new jobs created by Alabama SBDC clients. The Small Business Development Center (SBDC) and Procurement Technical Assistant Center (PTAC) at UAH is located in the Huntsville/Madison Chamber of Commerce.