Kutztown University received a $4.9 million grant from the U.S. Small Business Administration to serve as the new site of the Pennsylvania Small Business Development Center (PA-SBDC) Lead Office, effective July 1.
The PA-SBDC Lead Office is responsible for the financial and programmatic oversight of the statewide SBDC network. It has been headquartered at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School for 37 years. KU, under the direction of its SBDC director Ernie Post, competed with other prestigious universities to earn the new lead designation.
“I am pleased to announce that Pennsylvania’s small business owners and entrepreneurs will have access to valuable resources through a new partnership between the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and Kutztown University, which will now host the Pennsylvania Small Business Development Centers program,” said Allen Gutierrez, associate administrator of SBA’s Office of Entrepreneurial Development. “Kutztown University joins 62 other Small Business Development Centers host organizations nationwide that operate nearly 1,000 local centers, providing vital business counseling and training to the local small business community. I look forward to a long and successful relationship with Kutztown University as we help entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses.”
“It’s wonderful to see the commitment of stellar Pennsylvania universities, like Kutztown University SBDC and leaders like Ernie, to assisting small businesses,” said Antonio (Tony) Leta, U.S. SBA Eastern Pennsylvania director. “SBA funds resource partners, including the SBDC network, to help small businesses with everything from drafting business plans to complex management principles. SBA’s resource partners, including the newly chosen Lead Center at Kutztown SBDC, have a lot to be proud of for the help they provide small businesses.”
“Kutztown University is truly proud and honored to be the new home of the Pennsylvania Small Business Development Center Lead Office,” said Dr. Anne Zayaitz, KU provost and vice president for academic affairs, “This endeavor better positions our university as a leader in the State System for economic development.”
With 18 college- and university-based centers and more than 90 outreach centers located throughout the state of Pennsylvania, the PA-SBDCs provide education and no-cost consulting services to entrepreneurs and small business owners.
The SBDC’s one-on-one management consulting emphasizes education and guidance in finding practical solutions to business problems. Consulting is confidential and provided at no-charge by a staff of skilled professionals.
Small businesses provide 55 percent of all jobs and 66 percent of all net new jobs. In the U.S., existing small businesses comprise 99 percent of all employer firms, employ nearly half of the workforce, and account for more than 60 percent of the private sector’s net new jobs.
“Having our SBDC serve as the lead office for Pennsylvania will be beneficial for our university, our college and our students,” said Dr. Anne Carroll, dean of KU’s College of Business. “The KU SBDC has been highly effective through the years, and there is no doubt that quality will carry over to the lead office.”
KU’s SBDC has a long history of managing successful entrepreneurial development programs, hosting the largest funded center in the PA-SBDC network since it acquired the regional territory from Penn State in 1993. Since then, the KU SBDC has grown to be recognized as a leader in the country for innovation, high-quality service, and outreach to underserved populations. The KU SBDC center has been recognized within the network as a leader. The center has always met and surpassed its capital formation, long-term clients, and business start goals. In addition, the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education and KU have demonstrated a long-term commitment through their establishment and funding of 14 PASSHE Entrepreneurship Leadership Centers (ELCs) that will serve as referral sources to the PA-SBDC network and collaborators.
While the lead office grant will fund the 18 regional centers, the KU SBDC will experience an increase in graduate assistantship and internship opportunities for KU students from several majors.
“We are excited about this opportunity to provide leadership for one of the highest performing SBDC programs in the country,” said Post. “The month of June will be an extremely busy one for us as we work with our University of Pennsylvania team to make this transition as seamless as possible for everyone.”
Kutztown Small Business Development Center is part of a state-wide network of colleges and university centers, which is a joint venture of federal, state, and private sector agencies and organizations including the U.S. Small Business Administration and the Pennsylvania Department of Community & Economic Development. Each agency, along with Kutztown University, contributes to the financial support of the program.
For more information on the PA-SBDC, visit http://www.pasbdc.org.