#FF Pennsylvania Small Business Development Centers

Small businesses are alive and thriving. This week’s #FF features Pennsylvania Small Business Development Centers (SBDC) @PASmallBusiness.

We spoke to Kelly Cofrancisco, Marketing and Network Services Coordinator at Pennsylvania SBDC, who told us a little more about the program:

The Pennsylvania SBDC are the only statewide, nationally accredited program that provides high quality one-on-one consulting, training and information resources to empower new and existing businesses.  The SBDC program is a public-private partnership with the U.S. Small Business Administration, the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development and 18 universities and colleges across the Commonwealth.

In 2013, the Pennsylvania SBDC program will serve its 500,000th client!

The State Director’s Office of the Pennsylvania SBDC manages the statewide Twitter account @PASmallBusiness, but many of our local SBDCs also have their own Twitter accounts.  They can be followed by visiting https://twitter.com/PASmallBusiness/pa-sbdc-centers.

What kind of events does the Pennsylvania SBDC offer?

The Pennsylvania SBDC offers a variety of educational events and workshops all across the state to address the many needs of small businesses. One of the most popular workshops we offer, the First Step: Starting a Business, is a great place to begin for those looking to start a business.  Some of our most popular workshops are also those covering International Trade, Government Marketing, Finance and Marketing.  In the past year we have also launched a new series called Shale Energy 101: Supply Chain Opportunities for Small Business which helps to educate business owners on the natural gas industry.  Many events are offered at no fee or low-fee to small business owners and entrepreneurs, the full list of events can be viewed by visiting http://pasbdc.org/events.

Corbin’s Footwear located in Lock Haven specializes in work-related footwear for people employed in law enforcement and emergency services, agriculture, healthcare, construction, industry, military services, and other occupations that need high-performance and protective footwear as a critical tool for the job. In the past few years, Corbin’s has seen a growing demand for quality work footwear for all blue collar workers, particularly those involved in the Marcellus Shale industry in Corbin’s immediate market area.

Business owner Bob Simcox initially met with the Lock Haven Small Business Development Center (SBDC) staff in 2004 when he started the business, and has returned for their assistance over the years throughout his various stages of growth and development. Like many small business entrepreneurs, Mr. Simcox has experienced his share of growing pains along his journey as a small business owner. His most recent hurdle was aimed at attempting to take advantage of purchasing the building that his store is located in, where he had been leasing space for the past few years. After meeting with the Lock Haven SBDC Director near the end of 2011 with his expansion plans, a consulting engagement began to help achieve Bob’s goal of purchasing the commercial property.

With the SBDC’s input, a formal, professional business plan was created by the client to provide to potential lenders. The business plan provided a solid foundation for Corbin’s Footwear to build upon as growth continues. Mr. Simcox received the funding for his venture in April 2012, nearly eight months after meeting with the SBDC Director to begin project planning. Ultimately he secured loans from Jersey Shore State Bank and the Clinton County Revolving Loan Fund program, totaling $575,000.

To read more about Corbin’s Footwear, visit http://pasbdc.org/success-stories/2013/01/23/corbin-s-footwear.

How does the Pennsylvania SBDC use clean energy?

The Pennsylvania SBDC has helped many small firms explore clean energy options for their businesses. This may include purchasing power from a supplier with clean energy offerings, installing a clean energy system such as wind or solar energy, or converting truck and vehicle fleets to clean energy such as natural gas.

The Pennsylvania SBDC is headquartered at the University of Pennsylvania (Penn).  In 2001, Penn became a national leader in the use of renewable energy through its agreement to purchase 20 million kilowatt hours of wind-generated power per year for three years. Penn funded the premium cost of wind energy through savings from an aggressive energy-conservation program that reduced peak demand by 18 percent. In September 2002, the Federal Environmental Protection Agency and the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection honored the University for its commitment to alternative energy consumption. In 2003, Penn extended its wind power purchase to a 10-year commitment, providing sustained funding that led to the construction of a new 12-turbine wind farm in Pennsylvania.

What role does Twitter have for @PASmallBusiness?

We use Twitter in tandem with our other social media presences to reach small business owners and prospective entrepreneurs to help educate them and share resources on small business.  Our goal is to promote the activities of our local centers while keeping up with all of our statewide economic development partners to share what they are doing in their local communities.  We know that many entrepreneurs and small business owners are using social media for their businesses, and it is important to us to be present in the same spaces where they are investing their time and resources.

 Is there anything else you would like to add?

The Pennsylvania SBDC releases a Service Summary of its network services and impact each year to show the results of the program.  Highlights from the 2012 services summary include:

  • Entrepreneurs/Businesses      Consulted – 12,254
  • Total Consulting Hours      Provided – 108,489
  • Educational Workshops &      Seminars – 744
  • Educational Event Attendees –      13,983
  • Client-Obtained Investment –      $106.8 million
  • Client Government Contracts –      $150.4 million
  • Assets Preserved – $72.3      million

To view the Services Summary info-graphic, visit: http://pasbdc.org/results/services-summaryWhere can we go to learn more about Pennsylvania SBDC?

To learn more about the programs offered the Pennsylvania SBDC website is a great start (www.pasbdc.org) but we always encourage entrepreneurs to take a “First Step: Starting a Business” workshop in their local area.  If an established business is interested in finding out more about how the SBDC can help them, they should contact their local SBDC and find out if they can meet one-on-one with an experienced SBDC consultant or sign up for a seminar held in their region.

#FF: 2013 Cabot Community Picnic Vendors
#FF Alternative Clean Transportation: ACT Expo
The following two tabs change content below.

Sarah

Intern, External Affairs at Cabot Oil & Gas Corporation
Sarah was born in Lewistown, Pennsylvania- a small town in central PA. She is currently attending Pennsylvania State University majoring in Public Relations and minoring in Recreation, Park and Tourism Management. She is presently working as an Intern in External Affairs for Cabot Oil & Gas Corporation. Sarah’s responsibilities include writing for Cabot’s social media, scheduling content and event planning.

Latest posts by Sarah (see all)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

%d bloggers like this: