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Pennsylvania SBDC Network Receives Full Accreditation

by Pennsylvania SBDC

Nov 16, 2021

The Pennsylvania Small Business Development Centers (PASBDC) network is honored to announce it has been awarded full accreditation from the Association of Small Business Development Centers (ASBDC), the national accrediting body for Small Business Development Centers under contract from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).

The organization’s lead office relocated to Kutztown University only three years ago. Ernie Post, state director of the PASBDC, said it’s rare for new lead offices and networks to be fully accredited without conditions, making the achievement even more notable.

“Our recent successful national ASBDC accreditation designation is a testament to the high-quality consulting, mentoring and education that our PASBDC team members deliver across the Commonwealth to all of our small business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs who are starting a business,” Post said.

Since its inception in 1980, the PASBDC has helped aspiring entrepreneurs start more than 30,000 businesses, obtain over $2.5 billion in start-up and expansion capital, and increase sales by more than $12 billion. SBDC-assisted companies reported winning over $2.5 billion in government contracts, grew their international sales by more than $1.4 billion, and created over 140,000 jobs generating more than $796 million in new tax revenue.

“For more than 40 years the PASBDC network has been a national leader with innovative programming for entrepreneurs and small businesses,” said David W. Patti, PASBDC Advisory Board Chair and Director of Communications & Marketing at Customers Bank. “The key to our success has been the strong partnership with SBA, the PA Department of Community & Economic Development, and our host institutions.”

Host institutions of all different sizes dot the Pennsylvania landscape. They include Bucknell University, Clarion University, Duquesne University, Gannon University, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Kutztown University, Lehigh University, Penn State University, Saint Francis University, Saint Vincent College, Shippensburg University, Temple University, University of Pittsburgh, The University of Scranton, Widener University, and Wilkes University.

“The Small Business Development Center has proven to be a tremendous resource for Kutztown University and the surrounding community,” said Dr. Kenneth S. Hawkinson, Kutztown University President. “We hold great pride that Kutztown University continues to lead statewide efforts of providing resources and learning opportunities to our local entrepreneurs.”

The accreditation review process, mandated by Congress, is meant to assure that SBDC programs operate efficiently and effectively. Failure to achieve accreditation can result in the loss of federal funding.

A four-member team composed of the leaders of SBDC programs in Washington, California, Texas, and Arkansas conducted the review. The team assessed several areas of the program, including leadership and organizational management, the strategic planning process, client and stakeholder focus, service delivery, and program performance.

In this year’s report, the Pennsylvania program received three commendations which highlighted best practices:

  • Network huddles.
  • Sharing center performance dashboards.
  • Monthly professional development offerings.

“This accomplishment was a real team effort from the lead office and the centers from across the Commonwealth,” said Dr. Anne Carroll, dean of the College of Business at Kutztown University. “It reflects not only the great work that has been done in the past several years, but also acknowledges the visionary strategic plan for the PASBDC that includes new programs that will expand the impact of their work and benefit the entrepreneurial ecosystem in the state for years to come.”

In ABSDC network rankings for 2020, the PASBDC ranked #3 in new business starts (703), #5 in jobs supported (nearly 80,000), #6 in capital infusion (over $300 million) and #7 in unique clients served (over 13,000).

In addition, SBA ranked the University of Pittsburgh SBDC as the best in the nation out of more than 1,000 similar centers throughout the country, awarding it the national SBDC Excellence and Innovation Award.

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