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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 Secures Grant to Transition Unemployed Workers to Entrepreneurs in the Pittsburgh Region

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The Pennsylvania Small Business Development Centers (SBDC) has received funds from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA)’s Portable Assistance Project for FY 2013 to develop Transitioning Employees to Entrepreneurs in Motion (TEEM): Opportunities for Southwestern Pennsylvanians to Pursue business Ownership in the Changing Economy, a program in which the SBDC will consult with unemployed workers and provide training to assist them in pursuing entrepreneurship.  The project will be delivered by the Duquesne University SBDC in its service area of Allegheny, Beaver, Butler, and Lawrence Counties.

“This grant will provide critical resources to enable us to develop services to help people who have lost their job in the Pittsburgh region transition from being an employee to being a potential employer,” explains Christian Conroy, Pennsylvania SBDC State Director.

TEEM aims to provide technical assistance to public and private sector workers who have been negatively affected due to the structural economic transitions that have occurred in the government, education, information, and transportation sectors in the Pittsburgh metro area over the past two years.

“The displaced workers in our region need assistance to successfully transition into self-employment and business ownership,” said Duquesne University SBDC Director Mary McKinney. “People who are out of work and want to start a business should contact us – we can help.”

The SBA awards SBDC Portable Assistance Project grants to provide services and/or assistance to increase small business success and viability in communities suffering economic hardship attributable to the impact of a major disaster or economic downturn in their service area.

According to Western Pennsylvania SBA District Director Carl Knoblock, transitional employees may find that a skill set can successfully be transferred to small business ownership.

“I travel throughout the region and meet with entrepreneurs on a daily basis,” he stated. “Not only do entrepreneurs need the services provided by our small business development centers, but, I believe they have to be passionate about their craft to actively pursue opportunities.”

Unemployed individuals in Allegheny, Beaver, Butler and Lawrence Counties who are in transition and would like to be considered for the TEEM entrepreneurship program should contact the Duquesne University SBDC at (412) 396-1633 or . For more information on the Duquesne University SBDC services and programs, please visit www.sbdc.duq.edu.