America’s SBDC Iowa is an outreach program of Iowa State University’s Ivy College of Business and the Office of Economic Development and Industry Relations. Funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration.
CIVCO Medical Solutions, Coralville
Forty years ago, CIVCO Medical Solutions was founded by Victor J. Wedel, a diagnostic medical sonographer who worked at the University of Iowa. The company has grown immensely since then, with customers now in 85 countries and a partner to the top ultrasound manufacturers worldwide. CIVCO also has nearly 200 employees between its corporate headquarters in Coralville, Iowa, and its main production facility in nearby Kalona.
CIVCO began to start processing orders overseas, and because of its lack of experience in this area, reached out to the Small Business Development Center at the University of Iowa (SBDC) to facilitate discussions. CIVCO representatives met Paul Heath, regional director of the University of Iowa SBDC.
“Paul was super helpful, especially with making connections,” said CIVCO president Robin Therme. “We knew he would pick up the phone, and if he didn’t know the answer, he would always find it for us.”
When discussing the changes for small businesses over the last 40 years, Therme said, “The entire world is their market now. It is easy to make connections and reach so many markets now. There are also more resources available, especially with the SBDC.”
Therme and CIVCO’s marketing manager, Erin Dougherty, offered advice for small businesses starting out: “Be super clear about the problem you’re solving and what you’re trying to achieve. You need to be open and willing to hear new ideas and the input from others,” Therme said.
“Small business owners need to be aware of the value we can provide as a state and continue to be proud to be an Iowan and a small business in Iowa,” Dougherty said. “Sometimes we can be overlooked and sell ourselves short. We have a lot to be proud of.”
As for what they see in the next 40 years for small businesses, Therme said: “In the last two years we have seen how quickly businesses could adapt, and it will be fun to see what happens in the next 40, and what new ideas are going to pop out.”
For more information on CIVCO Medical Solutions, visit https://www.civco.com.