Pennsylvania Small Business Center Receives Prestigious SBA Award for Economic Resilience Efforts

Pennsylvania Small Business Development Center (PASBDC)

KUTZTOWN, PA — The Pennsylvania Small Business Development Center (PASBDC) has been recognized by the Small Business Administration (SBA) as one of fewer than ten recipients nationwide of the esteemed Portable Assistance Program award. The accolade acknowledges PASBDC’s dedication to bolstering small businesses in economically distressed regions.

The PASBDC will leverage the funding from the SBA Portable Assistance Program to provide technical support and training services to small businesses affected by recent downsizing or closures of business or government facilities. The primary objective is to enhance small business success and viability, gauged through metrics such as the number of clients advised, sales increases, new business launches, and capital infusion transactions. The overarching aim is to stimulate economic resilience and foster entrepreneurial success within these communities.

The proposed project aligns with the PASBDC’s strategic focus on Centers of Excellence at host institutions, which address the sustainability needs of clients and possess the unique capacity to deliver specialized services. Bucknell University’s Small Business Development Center, known for its Center of Excellence in Innovation Engineering, is ideally positioned to spearhead this project. It will furnish services in Snyder, Union, Montour, Northumberland, Juniata, and Perry counties, facilitating collaboration with regional partners.

Director Steven Stumbris of the Small Business Development Center at Bucknell University expressed enthusiasm about the initiative titled ‘Enhancing Small Business Competitiveness in Central Pennsylvania Through Integration of Innovative Artificial Intelligence (AI) Tools.’ The project, supported by the new SBA grant, has already reached 95 participants through training programs on topics like AI exploitation by hackers and the creation of inclusive websites and social media. With the aid of AI and other digital technologies, Stumbris envisions a future where businesses in the region are not just resilient but ahead of the curve. The Bucknell SBDC has planned an array of programs in the coming months, including direct technical assistance on new and emerging AI and digital tools.

Dr. Ernie Post, State Director of the Pennsylvania SBDC, expressed pride at receiving this prestigious award, stating that it validates their ongoing efforts to support small businesses, especially those in economically challenged areas. It reinforces their commitment to delivering essential resources and assistance to entrepreneurs across Pennsylvania.

The Pennsylvania SBDC, a network of 15 university-based centers located throughout the state, provides high-quality consulting, business training programs, and information resources to new and existing businesses at no cost. Its statewide, nationally accredited program is unique in its ability to empower businesses.

The SBA’s Portable Assistance Program award and the subsequent project are significant steps toward fostering economic resilience and entrepreneurial success in Pennsylvania’s economically distressed regions.

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