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Local entrepreneur gets a boost from Small Business Development Center

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On an average day, Trina Worrell Benjamin handles invoices, returns calls and emails, directs a team of nearly a dozen employees and manages a client roster that has included big names like Rite Aid and Toys“R”Us. She admits her first steps into entrepreneurship were not easy. But with the help of…

Local entrepreneur gets a boost from Small Business Development Center

  • SBDC: Temple University SBDC
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Pennsylvania SBDC and U.S. Commercial Service Make Export Promotion Partnership Official

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On Friday, July 27, 2012 the Pennsylvania Small Business Development Centers (SBDC) and the U.S. Commercial Service officially signed an Export Promotion Partner MOU at the headquarters of mutual client Analytical Graphics, Inc. (AGI) in Exton.  This event launched the CS/PASBDC partnership initiative to generate new opportunities for more Pennsylvania exports and workers to help secure America’s future and to give small business the tools to succeed in this increasingly competitive world.

Pennsylvania SBDC State Director Christian Conroy and Antwaun Griffin, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Domestic Operations, U.S. Department of Commerce, International Trade Administration signed the document on Friday solidifying the partnership. 

Congressman Jim Gerlach was also present at the event to show his support for the collaboration stating “95 out of 100 customers in the world are not here in the United States.”  The Congressman went on to say that if Pennsylvania companies are going to be successful, they need to understand that fact. 

“The SBDCs across Pennsylvania look forward to working more closely with the Commercial Service, as well as with other federal and state programs, to help more small firms export and to help create more international trade success stories like AGI” said Conroy prior to the signing.

DAS Griffin emphasized that in the current budget environment, “closer cooperation with the Pennsylvania SBDC is a step in the right direction and will facilitate a more robust client referral system, sharing of best practices, cross promotion of business services and allow more SBDC clients to tap global opportunities.”

AGI, whose software applications and development tools are used in space, defense and intelligence missions, came to the Wharton SBDC back in 1994 for help in financing the growth of their company and ultimately secured an SBA-guaranteed loan through that assistance.  The SBDC analyzed their financial needs and aided in identifying capital sources, which helped to propel the company through its critical early growth stage.

More recently, AGI has used the U.S. Department of Commerce’s worldwide network to assess foreign-market potential for its aerospace and defense system analysis and 3D visualization software.  As a result, AGI has experienced annual sales growth outside the U.S. of approximately 40%.  AGI is a recipient of the Export Achievement Award, given by the U.S. Department of Commerce and the Chester County Globe Award.    

The SBDC supports Pennsylvania’s economic development by providing entrepreneurs and small businesses with individual consultation, comprehensive education and information necessary to help their businesses start, grow, and prosper.  Through this agreement, Pennsylvania SBDCs across the state will seek to collaborate with their local U.S. Commercial Service offices on trade promotion and outreach activities in their communities. 

High resolution photos of the event are available; please contact at (215) 746-6474 or kcofran@wharton.upenn.edu.