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2018-04-27 / Business Briefs

Penn State SBDC celebrates 20 years of stimulating economic growth and job creation

UNIVERSITY PARK, PA. — The Penn State Small Business Development Center is responsible for securing more than 2,000 jobs, 500 business openings and stimulating millions of dollars in economic growth in Central Pennsylvania, according to client surveys conducted over the past two decades. Local businesses, community leaders and the Penn State SBDC staff celebrated “20 Years of Client Success” at a luncheon from 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. on Friday, March 23, 2018, at the Penn Stater Hotel and Conference Center.

Roger Garthwaite, partner at Otto’s Pub and Brewery and Barrel 21 Distillery and Dining, worked with the Penn State SBDC when expanding and opening his restaurants.

“The Penn State SBDC was always available to answer questions during Otto’s transition to its larger location and provided background material and resources for us. We approached them again when we decided to open Barrel 21 Distillery and Dining,” Garthwaite said. “Most small businesses and startups do not have extra funds to do research before and after opening, so their resources are invaluable. I know they will be there for us again when we start our next adventure.”

The Penn State SBDC offers no-cost consulting and low-cost workshops and seminars to pre-venture, startup and existing businesses in Centre and Mifflin counties. Since 1997, impact survey results show staff has helped create or secure 2,239-plus jobs, 533-plus businesses, $85 million in capital, $90 million in sales increases and over 4,000 participants at Global Entrepreneurship Week at Penn State.

Colleen Small, owner of the UPS Store State College, has been a client of the Penn State SBDC since 2006. She credits them with the long-term success of her business.

“My husband and I were having advertising issues when we met Linda Feltman, business consultant for the Penn State SBDC. She invited us to attend ‘Marketing on a Shoestring,’” Small said. “The staff is so caring and they offer so many classes and resources. They will work with you no matter what stage you are in with your business. We credit them for why we won the U.S. Small Business Administration Small Business Persons of the Year, Pittsburgh District, in 2015.”

Kimberlee MacMullan, executive director for the Penn State SBDC, is in her first year with the organization, but is already looking forward to future milestones.

“People come to us seeking reliable and appropriate guidance on accounting standards, sources of funding, legislation and market dynamics. We provide this guidance at no or low-cost with support from the university, PA SBDC and the U.S. Small Business Administration,” MacMullan said. “I am responsible for a solid core of consultants who help our clients foresee goals, risks and opportunities to make better business decisions. I hope in 20 years, those clients stand here and tell their story of commitment, execution and achievement.”

Centre County Commissioner Mark Higgins said the commissioners issued a proclamation to honor the anniversary.

“The work performed by the Penn State SBDC helps support entrepreneurs and creates numerous jobs in Centre County,” Higgins said. “It improves the quality of life for Centre County citizens.”

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