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    Scranton SBDC Supports Small Business through Pandemic and Beyond

    July 6, 2021

    Small businesses in the Northeastern and Northern Tier regions of Pennsylvania continue to receive guidance and education from The University of Scranton Small Business Development Center (SBDC) as they respond to and recover from the impacts of COVID-19. “In 2020, we worked with over 730 clients through training events or consulting to assist their businesses,” said Leigh Fennie, business consultant at the SBDC.

    Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, SBDC business consultant Leigh Fennie worked with businesses to continue assisting in training small business owners in various areas including marketing, social media, starting a daycare, as well as various topics specifically for food and agriculture businesses and are continuing to do so.

    “We also offered and continue to offer one-on-one, confidential consulting sessions for small business owners and entrepreneurs,” Fennie said. “Many businesses that were affected by COVID-19 used these sessions to get assistance with determining what finding options were available to them for their specific business.”

    With the group's broad reach of eight counties throughout Northeastern and Northern Pennsylvania, Fennie and the Scranton SBDC continue to look to expand their reach and assist businesses in any way they can as the aftereffects of the pandemic linger.

    “We are hopeful that with the allocation of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, there will be more funds allocated to the state and local levels for additional funds for small businesses,” Fennie said. “We will continue to keep as up-to-date as possible with all of the funds available for small businesses and have taken great care to ensure that the information we are sharing with clients is the most up-to-date and accurate information available.”

    The University of Scranton SBDC is housed in the Kania School of Management and has a wide service area that includes Bradford, Lackawanna, Monroe, Pike, Susquehanna, Tioga, Wayne and Wyoming counties. The team of professional Business Consultants and student interns provide educational programs and no-cost, confidential consulting services to entrepreneurs looking to start or grow a small business.

    Kathy Reap, owner of Rock Steady Boxing Northeast Pennsylvania said that the Scranton SBDC has been an invaluable resource to her as a new business owner for the past five years. “Before I opened my doors, I attended the StartUP program for new business owners offered by the SBDC,” Reap said.  “This gave me much necessary information about starting a business and increased confidence to proceed with my plan.” Reap said that she continues to find value in the SBDC as an existing business owner. She said the team has assisted her with things like budgeting, marketing, applying for local funds for hiring interns, accounting software tutorials, developing job descriptions and advertising open positions.

    “I would highly recommend that any small business make use of their excellent resources,” Reap said. “I have specific issues that come up and they already know my business and we come up with great solutions and learn new resources relatively quickly.  I feel like I have a built-in mentor that I can turn to at any time.”

    Katelyn McManamon, the special projects coordinator at the SBDC, said the organization is quite versatile and can help both aspiring entrepreneurs turn ideas into businesses and help those existing firms expand. “The University of Scranton SBDC is the resource entrepreneurs in all industry sectors can turn to for help and provide insight for businesses making critical decisions,” McManamon said. “This help can make the difference between success and failure.” 

    In addition to confidential, one-on-one consulting services, the SBDC offers training programs on a variety of topics and recently launched on-demand training videos, which can be accessed by entrepreneurs whenever they have time. Information about live and on-demand trainings can be found on their website: scrantonsbdc.com/training/.

    For more information about The University of Scranton SBDC and its services, please visit scrantonsbdc.com, call (570) 941-7588, or email sbdc@scranton.edu.

     

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