Success Story

Penn State Small Business Development Center: A Vital Asset for Regional Growth

UNIVERSITY PARK-  Serving Central Pennsylvania for over 25 years, the Penn State Small Business Development Center (SBDC) is one of fifteen university- and college-based SBDCs in Pennsylvania and is an accredited affiliate of the national network of America’s SBDC. The Pennsylvania SBDCs are the only statewide, nationally accredited programs in Pennsylvania that provide high quality consulting, training, and information resources to empower new and existing businesses.

Headquartered in Innovation Park with satellite offices in the Eric J. Barron Innovation Hub, Lock Haven University, Pennsylvania College of Technology, and the Williamsport/Lycoming Chamber of Commerce, the Penn State SBDC provides business consulting and resources for entrepreneurs and small business owners in Centre, Mifflin, Lycoming, and Clinton counties.

The Penn State SBDC consists of a team of expert business consultants located within their service regions. SBDC consultants provide one-on-one and team business consultations, which can cover topics such as business plan development, market analysis, capital acquisition, quality control, marketing, business continuity, and much more.

From a fitness center to a family-owned cosmetic salon to a nutrition startup, small businesses across the state are touting the support of the Penn State SBDC within their local community.

“The success we’ve achieved wouldn’t have been possible without the prioritized and strategic assistance from the SBDC that eliminated unnecessary struggles and paved the way for a thriving business,” said Cory Lesher, Co-Owner of A&S Waxing Studio in downtown Lock Haven.

By providing expert guidance, resources, and training to aspiring entrepreneurs, the Penn State SBDC actively promotes the entrepreneurial spirit within the university and beyond. This fosters a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship among students, faculty, and alumni, reinforcing Penn State’s commitment to academic excellence and societal impact.

“The Penn State SBDC stands as a cornerstone of the University’s commitment to community growth,” said James Delattre, associate vice president of research and director of the Penn State Office of Entrepreneurship and Commercialization. “The Penn State SBDC’s impact is felt in main street communities in Central PA and is enriching the small business landscape and empowering businesses to realize their fullest potential.”

Additionally, the SBDC contributes to the university’s mission of community engagement and outreach. By providing free or low-cost consulting services, workshops, and seminars to entrepreneurs across a wide range of industries, the Penn State SBDC strengthens ties between Penn State and the broader community. This engagement fosters a sense of shared purpose and collaboration, positioning Penn State as a trusted partner in advancing economic prosperity and social well-being.

“While success might have been achievable independently, the Penn State SBDC significantly accelerated the journey, instilled confidence in crucial decision-making and played a key role in Fitness Factory’s achievement,” said Ryan Troutman, owner of Fitness Factory in Williamsport.


Celebrate #SBDCDay with us on Wednesday, March 20

In celebration of America’s SBDCs’ impact on local communities, #SBDCDay will take place nationwide on Wednesday, March 20, 2024. The Penn State SBDC will be celebrating by hosting two events that are free and open to the public.

Celebrating Jabebo’s Journey (In-person)
10 – 11 am, 213 E. Bishop St, Bellefonte, PA 16823

Celebrate the success of one of the Penn State SBDC’s small business clients, Jabebo, which creates and sells earrings celebrating wildlife and nature conservation for the curious heart. During the session, Kevin and Mary Abbott, owners of Jabebo, will share their entrepreneurship journey and discuss the support they received from the team at the Penn State SBDC. Register here.

LIVE! Dare to Disrupt Podcast Recording with honeygrow Founder, Justin Rosenberg (In-person or virtual)
2:30 – 3:30 pm, Eric J. Barron Innovation Hub, Room 611

Be a part of a live podcast studio audience! Attend the first-ever live, in-person Invent Penn State Dare to Disrupt podcast recording with honeygrow Founder Justin Rosenberg. Hear about Justin’s journey starting and growing a fast-casual stir-fry and salad restaurant chain to over 40 locations in the northeastern US. The event is hosted during Penn State Startup Week powered by PNC. Register to attend in-person or virtually.

Not only is the Penn State SBDC a catalyst for economic growth but also a strategic asset that enhances the university’s reputation, fosters collaboration, and strengthens community ties. By empowering entrepreneurs, supporting small businesses, and driving innovation, the SBDC embodies Penn State’s commitment to excellence, impact, and service to society.

“We take pride in the strides we’ve made in supporting our community entrepreneurs,” said Tim Keohane, Director of the Penn State SBDC. “Moving ahead, our goal is to maintain our pivotal role in Penn State’s entrepreneurial ecosystem, aiding our SBDC clients in achieving their business aspirations throughout the communities we serve.”


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 & Economic Development; by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA); by the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC); 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.