Success Story

  • Erica Quinn speaking at SBDC event

Penn State SBDC showcases resources for creative entrepreneurs

The Penn State Small Business Development Center (SBDC) recently held a Creative Entrepreneur Roundtable at the Pennsylvania College for Technology to highlight resources and programs that assist creative entrepreneurs, which include those undertaking ventures in music, art, and photography.

The Penn State SBDC supports business owners who currently run or are looking to start a for-profit business in Pennsylvania, including those delving into the arts. This roundtable provided a platform for creatives in Centre, Lycoming, Mifflin and Clinton counties to speak about their experiences as small business owners and entrepreneurs.

“Creative businesses are an important part of our local economies, and this event showcased beneficial resources available to these business owners and entrepreneurs,” said Tim Keohane, director of Penn State SBDC. “Topics of discussion included marketing, hiring workers, and pandemic-related challenges. Attendees received actionable advice they can use to further their ventures.”

The event was held in partnership with the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development’s (DCED) Engage! program and the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, whose Director of Access to the Creative Sector, Amanda Lovell, led the discussion. The roundtable also featured representation from the Williamsport Lycoming Chamber of Commerce.

Engage! is a statewide business retention and expansion program designed to regularly and proactively interact with companies, including those within the arts sector. This DCED program provides grants to nonprofits, community organizations and local governments while assisting in the identification of Pennsylvania companies to target, the engagement of those companies through various outreach methods, assessment of the needs of those targeted companies, and assisting those targeted companies through referrals and direct technical assistance.

The Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, which strengthens the cultural, educational, and economic vitality of Pennsylvania’s communities through the arts, is another resource that provides grants and funding for Pennsylvania creative entrepreneurs. Corey Elbin, director of Gorinto Productions, spoke at the roundtable about his company and how creative businesses can empower their communities. Gorinto Productions works collaboratively to curate transformative, inclusive atmospheres at arts and community spaces.

“Working with the Penn State SBDC and Business Consultant John Peterson helped me overcome my fears of the unknown and provided great perspective on valuable progress that I was looking to achieve,” Elbin said. “They asked very thoughtful questions and showed a sincere interest in my passion and efforts. There was a certain amount of trepidation that was taken out of legitimizing my brand and allowing me to focus on growth and the quality of my product.”

Within the creative entrepreneurial community, Elbin has partnered with 3 Dots Downtown, an arts community space located in downtown State College that serves as an incubator for creative entrepreneurs. “Gorinto Monthly Dance Parties” are hosted at 3 Dots Downtown, and they feature internationally recognized DJs in a community-based celebration of positivity, inclusivity, and wellness. Erica Quinn, executive director of 3 Dots Downtown, also attended the roundtable.

“3 Dots is honored to work with creative entrepreneurs such as Corey Elbin,” Quinn said. “Our lives as creative entrepreneurs are built in such ecosystems, and we’re grateful to the Penn State SBDC for the work they do to support our community. Watching Gorinto Productions’ work and impact grow as a result of its support from the Penn State SBDC’s team has been so heartening.”

To view upcoming Penn State SBDC events, visit its training calendar. Creative entrepreneurs or small business owners looking for assistance can contact the Penn State SBDC.

About the Penn State SBDC

Funding support and resources are provided through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration; by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania through the Department of Community and Economic Development; and in part through support from Penn State and with assistance from Lock Haven University. All services are extended to the public on a nondiscriminatory basis. SBDC services are not available to individuals or entities that have been debarred or suspended by the federal government.

SBDCs are hosted by leading universities, colleges, state economic development agencies and private partners, and funded in part by the United States Congress through a partnership with the U.S. Small Business Administration. There are nearly 1,000 local centers available to provide no-cost business consulting and low-cost training to new and existing businesses. The Penn State SBDC services Centre, Clinton, Lycoming, and Mifflin counties in central Pennsylvania.