UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Penn State students who are interested in entrepreneurship can now regularly meet with Penn State Small Business Development Center (SBDC) representatives and other consulting groups on the University Park campus.
Starting Sept. 17, SBDC consultants and members of Nittany Consulting Group (NCG) will be available for free, confidential advice about any small business issue from 4 to 5 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays at the Kunkle Activities Center. Also known as Kunkle Lounge, the center is located at the junction of Hammond and Sackett buildings.
Linda Feltman, senior business consultant at SBDC, said many student entrepreneurs often have great ideas but don’t know where to turn if they have questions. She said a scheduled, recurring presence on campus makes it easier for the SBDC to reach out to small business owners who are also undergraduates.
"This consulting opportunity will help student entrepreneurs move forward with their business ideas,” Feltman said. “We can manage their enthusiasm and direct them to the resources they need.”
From choosing a business structure to developing a marketing plan, Feltman said this type of face-to-face guidance is for students, faculty and staff at any stage of their small business development.
"We will be on campus every week for the fall semester, making the SBDC accessible,” Feltman said. “Accessibility is crucial when helping students who have questions about starting a small business or creating a new product.”
Members of Nittany Consulting Group, a student club founded by Smeal College of Business finance majors Chris Marthers and Noor Nahavandi, will also connect with students here as peer mentors. Marthers, who interned with the SBDC this summer, said he hopes student entrepreneurs will find this service to be beneficial.
“Pursuing an idea is intimidating and by talking with our fellow students, we can alleviate the intimidation factor of starting a business,” Marthers said. “Penn State students have great ideas and sometimes they simply need someone to discuss in detail the facets of their idea.”
Marthers said the SBDC is an important resource for student entrepreneurs.
“The extensive experience of the SBDC consultants, combined with the legwork that NCG consultants provide, gives students a chance to launch successful ideas,” Marthers said. “Hopefully, we can take some of the burden off the student in making their idea a reality.”
Also this semester, SBDC business consultants will speak about entrepreneurship during college to First Year Seminar students in the Smeal College of Business. The presentations begin in October. Topics include: how to start a business with the SBDC’s help, Penn State’s new intercollege minor in entrepreneurship and innovation (ENTI), student entrepreneurship groups and how to get involved with service-learning projects.
“It is a great opportunity for us to introduce freshmen to the many entrepreneurship opportunities available at the beginning of their Penn State careers,” Feltman said. “It is a win-win for all of us.”