WILKES-BARRE —The Wilkes University Small Business Development Center got a major bragging right Monday, winning the US Small Business Administration’s Eastern Pennsylvania Small Business Development Center Excellence and Innovation award.
Several big names in the small business world gathered for a Monday morning presentation at the center, situated on the corner of South Main and East Northampton streets: Pennsylvania SBDC Lead Office Director Ernie Post, SBA Eastern Pennsylvania district director Steve Dixel and Deputy District Director Michael Kane, and the director of Wilkes’ SBDC Dorothy Lane.
“It’s wonderful to have the privilege to recognize the achievements of our resource partners such as the Wilkes University SBDC and leaders like Dorothy Lane,” Dixel said in a media release. “Under Dorothy’s leadership, the Center has worked with us to champion SBA products and services including providing education about the SBA and its programs to small businesses.”
“Wilkes University SBDC is known as the ‘go to’ resource for small businesses in the region,” the Post said. “The Center is dedicated to helping persons start and grow their business.”
The university’s SBDC was founded in 1980 and is touted as one of the state’s original seven such centers. Originally housed in a campus building, it moved to the Main Street location to be more accessible to businesses, then extended services to Carbon, Columbia, Luzerne, Schuylkill and Sullivan counties. Center consultants hold “outreach hours” in Lehighton, Hazleton, Bloomsburg, LaPorte and Pottsville.
Along with providing traditional small business services such as start-up assistance, research, marketing and financing assistance, the center has helped businesses recover from natural disasters, including support during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Wilkes SBDC has recently added help in exporting goods, expanded staff to better serve the region’s Hispanic population, and partnered with the Latino Center of Excellence at Widener University to offer education programming in Spanish.
Lane said the Center’s staff is “honored” to get the recognition. “Our team is dedicated to helping small businesses succeed across the region. Last year alone, the SBDC served more than 200 individuals, resulting in over 30 new business starts and a record $9.2 million in capital formation for start-up and existing businesses.”
Reach Mark Guydish at 570-991-6112 or on Twitter @TLMarkGuydish