Clarion celebrates small business

Katie Hillman – Staff Writer

CLARION, Pa.- Clarion University’s Small Business Development Center (SBDC) participated in the first SBDC Day celebration March 22 at the Gregory Barnes Center.

“SBDC Day is a national movement to help share the small business success stories and notable impact SBDCs have fostered in communities nationwide,” press contact Kelly Cofrancisco said in a press release from the Pennsylvania SBDC.

“It was created to be a national day to celebrate SBDCs, and a day to promote and build local, regional and national awareness of SBDCs,” Cynthia Nellis, director of the Clarion SBDC, said.

Clarion’s celebration began at 9 a.m. with a three-hour “Leadership Styles and Effective Communication” event. Following that, a two-hour long event was held to help guests “Learn How to Grow Your Business to $1 Million with an Advisory Board.”

The 63 Small Business Development Centers across Pennsylvania and nationwide joined in the celebration by hosting their own events. Small businesses, their partners and advocates were encouraged to promote the event through social media by using the hashtag #SBDCDay. On the day of the event, business owners used the hashtag to show the impact that their local SBDC has had on their lives and their surrounding communities.

“The SBDC network continues to demonstrate hard work and commitment that have helped Pennsylvania become a leader in job creation and small business growth,” Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development Secretary Dennis Davin said in a press release.

America’s SBDC President and CEO Charles Rowe was excited for SBDC Day.

“We are thrilled to see SBDCs around the country working together to celebrate their clients and showcase the work they do for America’s small businesses,” Rowe said in the press release. “SBDC clients see an average job growth of 15.5 percent versus the national job growth average of just 1.9 percent. There is no denying the impact SBDCs have on the success of the small businesses in their communities and their local economies.”

Clarion’s SBDC provides free business consulting services to pre-venture and existing businesses throughout ten counties: Armstrong; Cameron; Clarion; Clearfield; Elk; Forest; Jefferson; McKean, Potter and Venango.

Skilled professionals help business owners develop the planning, management and financial skills they need to help their business succeed through one-on-one management. During training, there is an emphasis on education and a guidance in finding practical solutions to business problems.

The center is funded by Clarion University, the Small Business Administration and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Funding allows the center to operate at no charge to clients.

In 2016, Clarion’s SBDC helped 513 clients raise more than $14 million in start-up and expansion capital, and 56 clients started businesses.  The businesses they assisted included manufacturing, service, retail and wholesale.

That same year, Clarion University became fully accredited by the National Association of Small Business Development Centers, which assures that SBDC programs operate efficiently and effectively. Clarion also received the Happy Client Award after a 100 percent client satisfaction rating, as well as an honorable mention for meeting or exceeding performance goals.

Clarion’s SBDC also partners in the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development’s Partnership for Regional Economic Performance. This program works to enhance regional economic development efforts and increase customer service to the business community.

Clarion’s SBDC is open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. They can be reached at (814) 393-2060 or toll free at 1-877-292-1843. Click here for more information.

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