Penn State SBDC created jobs, added millions in economic development in 2016

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The Penn State Small Business Development Center secured $8.6 million in financing, drove an increase in sales of more than $5 million for clients, and helped to save or create more than 200 jobs in Centre and Mifflin counties in 2016. The private-public partnership offers free consulting services to new and existing entrepreneurs and small businesses in all sectors including manufacturing, retail, health care, veterinary services and educational technology.

Veterinarians Dr. Debra Smart and Dr. Renee Calvert own Centre Animal Hospital in State College. Calvert had worked with the Penn State SBDC during a previous business venture and again when she and Smart decided to take over ownership of the established veterinary practice.

“We had some general ideas about how we wanted the partnership to work, but we knew the financial discussions, agreements and documents would be very important. We were looking for guidance to help us to get the foundational things right,” Calvert said. “The stability in the transition set us up to make the incremental improvements that will help us to continue to grow.”

Shannon Snare owns JRK Enterprises Inc., a business that provides flaggers for road construction. Snare was also an employee of her business when she decided to buy it from the previous owner.

“The biggest challenge was finding a lender. Because we are a service business, many lenders were not willing to talk to me because of the lack of collateral,” Snare said. “Michael Ryan, business consultant for the Penn State SBDC, pulled together a business history, projections and the previous tax returns, which helped me to secure a loan. He offered advice about the sales agreement, taxes and financials — which gave me the confidence to move forward.”

According to the Penn State SBDC Impact Report, in 2016:

Heather Fennessey McWhorter, director for the Penn State SBDC, said she is focused on new ways to help clients in 2017.

“There is a vast entrepreneurial ecosystem in central Pennsylvania and our mission is to help client’s succeed through identifying and securing financing, as well as work through business and strategic planning to ensure a strong foundation,” McWhorter said. “We are rolling out some new programs in 2017, such as a mentoring program with advisory boards for businesses in partnership with Powerlink.”

The Penn State SBDC will also celebrate its 20th anniversary in October 2017.

For more information, visit the Penn State SBDC online.

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Last Updated June 06, 2017