Penn State takes prospective entrepreneurs through first step

University Park, Pa. - Starting a small business isn’t easy. According to the U.S. Small Business Association, only 51 percent of new small businesses survive five years or more.

In an effort to help Centre and Mifflin County entrepreneurs get started, the Penn State Small Business Development Center (SBDC) will offer five seminars for the remainder of 2010, titled "The First Step of Starting a Business."

Currently, the unemployment rates in Centre and Mifflin Counties are 6.7 percent and 11.2 percent, respectively. Experts at the SBDC say the key to recovering lost jobs in these areas may lie in improving the performance of small businesses. They add that doing so has historically contributed to economic recovery and employment growth.

One local couple, Don and Coleen Reese, knows the benefits of the SBDC firsthand. With SBDC assistance, Don’s vision of owning his own equipment repair business became a reality. The Reeses have expressed that SBDC services, “are phenomenal and we could not have started without their help.”

“Given the current economic climate, SBDC services are needed now more than ever,” said Heather Fennessey, director of the Penn State SBDC. “Everybody needs to start thinking more entrepreneurially.”

Participants in the First Step seminar will learn the following skills from experienced business consultants:

  • • Refining business ideas
  • • Developing a business plan
  • • Identifying financing
  • • Marketing products
  • • Licensing and regulations
  • • Additional resources necessary for success

“The seminar is a great place to start because we give people a toolbox of how to evaluate their ideas and teach them about the steps they would make to advance,” said Fennessey.

Seminars will be held July 6, Aug. 3, Sept. 7, Oct. 5, and Dec. 7 at the 329 Building in Innovation Park, room 115A. They will last from 9 a.m. until noon. The cost of the seminar is only $20 and preregistration is required.

For further information visit or send an e-mail to

Penn State Small Business Development Center (SBDC) is part of a nationwide network of more than 1,000 centers. The Penn State SBDC provides free business assistance to small firms and business start-ups in Centre and Mifflin counties, enabling them to compete and grow in today’s highly competitive global economy. Penn State SBDC is part of Penn State Outreach, the largest unified outreach organization in American higher education. Penn State Outreach serves more than 5 million people each year, delivering more than 2,000 programs to people in all 67 Pennsylvania counties, all 50 states and 114 countries worldwide.

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Last Updated November 18, 2010