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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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Shale Energy Supply Chain Services for Small Manufacturers Now Available Through the Pennsylvania SBDC

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Pennsylvania SBDC State Director Christian Conroy joined with U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Region III Administrator Natalia Olson-Urtecho and EPA Region III Administrator Shawn M. Garvin to kick-off the program and showcase this multi-agency effort.

Pennsylvania Small Business Development Centers (SBDC) has announced that it will be delivering state-wide outreach and assistance to small manufacturers involved in the natural gas drilling industry.  These new Shale Energy Supply Chain Services are made possible through a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) ‘E3’ – Economy, Energy, Environment – grant promoting sustainable strategies that help small manufacturers be more profitable while also improving their energy and environmental performance.  

Companies who take part in the Pennsylvania SBDC’s Shale Energy Supply Chain Services will benefit from trained Environmental Management Assistance Program consultants who will advise program participants on source reduction and lean manufacturing concepts.  Utilizing EPA’s E3 framework, recommendations will focus on continual improvement to the manufacturing operations with regard to productivity, energy and environmental performance.  

“There is an unprecedented opportunity for small manufacturers to benefit from the growing shale gas industry in Pennsylvania if they are properly prepared, well managed and have instituted efficient business practices,” noted Pennsylvania SBDC State Director Christian Conroy. “Small manufacturing firms in the shale gas supply chain will now be able to use these services to become more sustainable and cost competitive in order to better serve this industry,” he added.

“EPA is pleased to help Pennsylvania’s small businesses explore sustainable practices that can grow their bottom-lines and the economy, while allowing them to demonstrate greater environmental leadership in this energy sector,” said EPA Regional Administrator Shawn M. Garvin.  “This E3 initiative supports President Obama’s commitment to strengthening American’s middle class by helping small businesses, investing in manufacturing and creating jobs.”  

“SBA’s mission is to help small businesses start, grow and succeed. For us, the question is ‘how do we give these businesses the best chance to succeed?’” said SBA Regional Administrator Natalia Olson-Urtecho. “SBA’s three C’s of capital, counseling and contracting usually points us in the right direction for an answer. If a small business needs money to purchase equipment or a building, there are SBA-backed loans and our resource partners have counselors to help with a business plan to prepare them to be part of the shale gas supply chain, for example.”

Shale Energy Supply Chain Services will be delivered at no cost to the participating business and include:

  • Conducting on-site assessments using existing simplified approaches specifically developed for small manufacturers in the shale energy supply chain to identify and prioritize opportunities to reduce costs, reduce waste, and improve productivity and efficiency.
  • Conducting in-depth lean manufacturing assessments at manufacturers in the shale energy supply chain using EPA’s Lean Suppliers Network Technical Review process.
  • Providing assistance through the Pennsylvania SBDC network for finding sources of financing for implementing source reduction, energy efficiency and pollution prevention projects.

Increasing numbers of manufacturers are adopting sustainability into their overall business strategies to reduce waste, improve the efficiency of their operations and position their firms to be more competitive in the global marketplace.  E3 brings together federal agencies, states and local communities for a broad discussion on how to connect respective programs to deliver responsive, coordinated solutions in a manufacturing environment. This framework focuses on strengthening small to medium sized American manufacturers, which represent the largest proportion of the manufacturing sector.

Interested manufacturers should visit www.pasbdc.org/shale-energy to learn more about the Shale Energy Supply Chain Services or contact Denise Bechdel at (814) 867-1539 or for more information.