SBDC Wins Center Excellence and Innovation Award

The University’s SBDC won the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Eastern Pennsylvania SBDC Excellence and Innovation Award.
The University of Scranton Small Business Development Center received the U.S. Small Business Administration 2020 Eastern Pennsylvania Small Business Development Center Excellence and Innovation Award.
The University of Scranton Small Business Development Center received the U.S. Small Business Administration 2020 Eastern Pennsylvania Small Business Development Center Excellence and Innovation Award.

The U.S. Small Business Administration announced The University of Scranton Small Business Development Center received its 2020 Eastern Pennsylvania Small Business Development Center Excellence and Innovation Award.

The University of Scranton Small Business Development Center (SBDC) provides quality educational programs and no-cost, confidential consulting services to entrepreneurs looking to start, grow and sustain their small business. Established in 1980, the SBDC is under the direction of Lisa Hall Zielinski, director, and her team. Small businesses, including agricultural enterprises and entrepreneurs, located in Bradford, Lackawanna, Monroe, Pike, Susquehanna, Tioga, Wayne, and Wyoming counties rely on the SBDC’s experienced and professional staff of 10 associates to offer assistance, education and guidance in finding practical solutions for turning business problems into business success.

“It’s wonderful to have the privilege to recognize the achievements of our resource partners such as The University of Scranton SBDC and leaders like Lisa,” said Steve Dixel, director, SBA Eastern Pennsylvania. “Under Lisa’s leadership, the SBDC emphasized collaboration between various economic development partners to promote the availability of federal, state and local funding for businesses impacted by COVID-19 and they continue to assist the business community to rebound with resiliency and innovation.” 

“The University of Scranton SBDC is a leader in innovation. For example, when COVID-19 brought traditional internships to a screeching halt, the team evaluated the needs of small businesses, determining that they needed extra help from interns virtually, and with as few obstacles as possible. As a result, the SBDC developed a virtual, micro-internship component for short-term, project-based opportunities performed remotely to add to their Small Business Internship Initiative,” said Dr. Ernie Post, director, Pennsylvania Small Business Development Center Network. 

Other unique programs created by The University of Scranton SBDC include: 

  • Women’s Entrepreneurship Center (WEC): A partnership between The University of Scranton Kania School of Management (KSOM) and the SBDC. WEC student interns and SBDC staff offer business start-up information, guidance and encouragement to low-income women, those in transition or those trying to make a better life for themselves and their families. The program was highlighted as an AACSB Accreditation Best Practice and was an influencer in the creation of the Scranton Area Foundation’s Women in Philanthropy Micro-loan Program. Nearly 50 students have completed WEC internships and more than 300 women have completed the StartUP series.
  • Engage! Business Walk: A team of economic development partners and stakeholders visit individual businesses in a walkable area to hear from owners about their small business experiences. Business owners are asked to share thoughts about challenges and opportunities, all with a goal of helping them grow their business and the businesses in the local community. Engage! is a statewide business retention and expansion (BRE) program funded by the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development (PA DCED). It was highlighted as a Best Practice by PA DCED and selected for presentation as a Best Practice at the Connections 20/20 Conference. 

“We are honored to be presented with the 2020 SBA Eastern Pennsylvania Center of Excellence and Innovation award, and so proud to serve the small businesses in Northeastern and Northern Tier Pennsylvania,” said Zielinski. “The Scranton SBDC team is dedicated to helping small businesses succeed across the region. Last year alone, our small team worked with more than 500 individuals, resulting in 45 new business starts and a record $14.2 million in capital formation for start-up and existing businesses. We are so thankful for the outstanding resources and support provided by SBA, our host institution and PA DCED. It’s a privilege to be part of the Pennsylvania SBDC Network.”

“The University of Scranton Small Business Development Center is an excellent partner in the Northeastern Pennsylvania Partnership for Regional Economic Performance,” said Jeffrey K. Box, president and CEO NEPA Alliance/NE PREP Coordinator. “Lisa and her team are always small business client and customer focused for the betterment of the economy of our region. We congratulate them on receiving this award from SBA.” 

“Many of today’s students have entrepreneurial dreams. Even more seek practical applications for classroom learning,” said Gerald C. Zaboski, vice president for enrollment management and external affairs at The University of Scranton. “We are so proud to count the Scranton SBDC as being among the best at providing both. Through innovative programs and services, Scranton's SBDC gives our students unique and powerful practical experiences. Women’s Entrepreneurship Center interns talk about a life-changing internship better than any they have done. Likewise, the Small Business Internship Initiative serves the needs of both businesses and students in an innovative way.”

The University of Scranton SBDC is part of the PA SBDC Network of colleges and university centers, which is a joint venture of federal, state, and private sector agencies and organizations including the SBA, PA DCED and The University of Scranton. The SBDC is an accredited affiliate of the national network of America’s Small Business Development Centers.

SBA’s Eastern Pennsylvania Small Business Development Center Excellence and Innovation Award Winner is selected annually from among nominees located across the 40 counties of eastern Pennsylvania. National Small Business Week recognizes the small business community’s contribution to the American economy. Learn more about National Small Business Week at

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