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Clarion University SBDC Receives Accreditation

Tuesday, January 5, 2016 @ 10:01 AM

Posted by Jake Bauer

IMG_7954-web[1]CLARION, Pa. – Clarion University Small Business Development Center, one of 18 centers in Pennsylvania, recently received accreditation by the National Association of Small Business Development Centers.

The SBDC provides entrepreneurs and existing small businesses in Armstrong, Cameron, Clarion, Clearfield, Elk, Forest, Jefferson, McKean, Potter and Venango counties with one-on-one consulting, information and education to help businesses start, grow and prosper.

During the past year the Clarion University SBDC provided 7,500 hours of one-on-one consulting to 461 clients, assisted clients with securing financing for projects totaling more than $11,000,000 and provided entrepreneurial training to more than 1,500 individuals. The Clarion University SBDC was recognized in 2012, 2013 and 2014 by the Small Business Administration Pittsburgh District with the Annual Impact Award. For more information on the Clarion University SBDC services, visit http://web.clarion.edu/sbdc/.

“This report is a testament to the skills and expertise of the network’s staff and the impact of their work in helping small businesses grow and prosper,” said Pennsylvania SBDC state director Christian Conroy. “The report offers solid and strong observations of the team’s findings during their review, commendations on five program components, and several recommendations to help us in continuing to build on our long record of impressive performance.”.

“The Pennsylvania Small Business Development Center Network is commended for both its dedication and commitment to the pursuit of continuous improvement,” said Beth Melnik, chair of the ASBDC Accreditation Committee. “Accreditation is important for each SBDC and is essential for the national SBDC program to be recognized as a provider of high quality business education and advising that results in credible economic impact.”

This is the fifth time the Pennsylvania SBDC program has been awarded accreditation. In this year’s report, the Pennsylvania program received five commendations which highlighted best practices:

• Hosting grand openings and ribbon cutting events for new business start-ups;
• Engaging undergraduate and graduate students in the work of the SBDC;
• Development of a comprehensive disaster/continuity checklist for businesses as part of
its business continuity services;
• Close working relationship with economic development partner organizations;
• Encouraging program recipients to inform stakeholders of the impact of SBDC
services.

The accreditation review process, mandated by Congress, is based on the Malcolm Baldrige Quality Program developed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology 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 Virginia, Maryland, Texas and Colorado conducted the Pennsylvania SBDC 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. These standards ensure that the public investment in the program from the federal government, the state government, and the host institutions results in strong returns for Pennsylvania’s economy.

Since its inception, the Pennsylvania SBDC 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 and grew their international sales by more than $1.4 billion, all while creating over 140,000 jobs that generate more than $796 million in new tax revenue.


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