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Small Business Development Center helps entrepreneurs|
By Donna Holmes
| During its first five years, the Pennsylvania Small Business Development Center (SBDC) has assisted small businesses and entrepreneurs in central Pennsylvania in obtaining more than $13 million in financing to start new businesses or to expand existing ones, as well as provided assistance enabling businesses to hire more than 394 full- and part-time employees.|
Among its many accomplishments since opening its doors at University Park in October 1997, the center has:
Small Business Development Centers are located throughout the United States. There are 16 centers in Pennsylvania, including the newest at Penn State. Pennsylvania Small Business Development Centers work with entrepreneurs and small firms to help them compete and grow in todays highly competitive global economy.
The centers provide free and confidential one-on-one consulting, training through educational programs, research and information, assistance with government contracting, international trade, environmental management, management services for high-growth companies and product development.
The Penn State Small Business Development Center assists small businesses in central Pennsylvania and also provides a learning environment for graduate and undergraduate students. MBA students work with the centers business analysts and consult with business owners. The students may assist businesses with financial analysis, projections, business planning, human resource planning, marketing or a variety of other business issues. Undergraduate students have assisted the centers environmental specialist with on-site reviews, research on compliance issues and regulations and energy savings calculations. Undergraduate students also have gained real-life experiences by assisting clients with marketing materials, such as Web sites, corporate identities and brochures.
The Penn State Small Business Development Center also offers The First Step seminars twice a month to provide prospective business owners with the basic information needed to start up a business. Throughout the year, the center offers The Second Step, a seminar on writing a business plan, as well as seminars on accounting, marketing, government contracting and solving problems in small business. The seminars are offered at a nominal fee or are free.
Pennsylvania Small Business Development Centers play an important role in fostering economic growth and development in the Commonwealth. In recognition of their contributions, the centers have been honored with the 2002 Governors Award for Environmental Excellence. (See below)
Governors Award honors Small Business Development Centers
| The Penn State Small Business Development Center (SBDC) is part of the network of Pennsylvania Small Business Development Centers honored with the 2002 Governors Award for Environmental Excellence.|
The Penn State center houses one of six specialists located throughout the Commonwealth who provide free, confidential environmental services through the Environmental Management Assistance Program (EMAP). Originally established to provide business assistance in Centre and Mifflin counties, the center now also provides environmental assistance in 19 counties through EMAP.
Donna Holmes, Small Business Development Center director, said, Since the beginning of the Environmental Management Assistance Program at Penn State in January 2001, we have assisted 95 clients with environmental health and safety issues. We have logged 1,803 hours of research and consulting with clients, and more than 90 percent of our clients in central Pennsylvania have implemented at least one of our environmental health and safety recommendations.
Holmes added, One client avoided purchasing improper equipment, which saved the business about $50,000.
The vast majority of small business owners want to comply with their regulatory obligations and be protective of the environment, but they do not have the time, money or resources to adequately address these challenges, Gregory L. Higgins Jr., state director of the Pennsylvania Small Business Development Centers, said. The Pennsylvania Small Business Development Centers Environmental Management Assistance Program is committed to providing the environmental assistance small businesses need to continue to grow.
Pennsylvania Small Business Development Centers are funded by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, the U.S. Small Business Administration, the private sector and their host colleges and universities. This support enables consulting services to be provided at no charge.