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Penn State SBDC Provides Resources for Businesses During Pandemic

Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Penn State Small Business Development Center (SBDC) has provided more than 1,000 collective hours of business advising to small businesses owners experiencing supply chain disruptions, staffing challenges, a decrease in revenue, and/or closure because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Of the 347 entrepreneurs who have sought pandemic- related support, 38 have worked with the SBDC to access a combined 4.5 million in capital through local, state, and federal emergency funding initiatives.

To support small business recovery efforts, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) awarded the Pennsylvania Small Business Development Centers (PASBDC) supplemental funding through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, also known as the CARES Act, in the late spring 2020. The funds allowed the Penn State SBDC to designate one full-time staff member to supporting small business recovery in Centre, Clinton, Lycoming, and Mifflin counties.

Elizabeth Hay, whose expertise includes QuickBooks, employee management, compliance, accounting and bookkeeping, government contracting, bid and proposal writing, and safety management, stepped into the Pandemic Support Specialist role in May of 2020. Hay works closely with graduate assistant Alice Liu, who supports the center’s pandemic relief and recovery efforts.

With a continued need for pandemic relief and recovery support, SBDC business consultant John Peterson joined Hay and Liu in the spring of 2021. The services they offer include:

  • Educational programs: Informational sessions on resources and topics such as emergency loan and grant programs, business resiliency and starting a new business.
  • Confidential, no-cost consulting: Assistance with loan applications, long-term planning, economic loss estimations, business preparedness and more.
  • Access to capital: Support accessing and applying for federal, state, and local lending and grant opportunities, including SBA, USDA and other commercial funding programs.
  • Risk mitigation strategies: Strategies to protect intellectual property and mitigate cyber threats such as scams, predatory lenders and other nefarious actors.
  • Workplace safety guidance: Information & tools to protect workplaces, employees and customers against potential health and safety threats.

The center also has established a Pandemic Support Resources page on their website to provide business owners and entrepreneurs with the most up-to-date information regarding emergency capital programs; national, state and local guidance; and business resiliency resources.

In the coming months, the Pandemic Support team will continue to offer educational programming and advising to help businesses ensure continuity of operations during the pandemic. Upcoming events include:

  • Restaurant Revitalization Fund Information Session, 9 a.m. Thursday, April 29

During this one-hour information session, SBA Eastern Pennsylvania District Office representatives Sonia Smith and Shannon Degiglio will share details regarding Restaurant Revitalization Fund eligibility, allowable use of funds, application process and timeline, impact on other SBA relief program funding, required documentation, and additional resources for assistance. Register Here.

  • Small Business Financing Opportunities: An Expert Panel Discussion, 9 a.m. Tuesday, May 4

A panel of experts from the US Small Business Administration, Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Central and Northern PA, M&T Bank and SEDA-COG will provide business owners with updates on pandemic funding and details on options available at the federal, state, and local levels. Additionally, they will provide commercial lending tips and insider grant and loan information and address special financing for specific industries. Register Here.

To connect with a member of the Penn State SBDC’s Pandemic Support team, sign up for no-cost, confidential business advising.

SBDCs are hosted by leading universities, colleges, state economic development agencies and private partners, and funded in part by the United States Congress through a partnership with the U.S. Small Business Administration. There are nearly 1,000 local centers available to provide no-cost business consulting and low-cost training to new and existing businesses. The Penn State SBDC services Centre, Clinton, Lycoming, and Mifflin counties in central Pennsylvania.