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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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College Prep Lady Prepares High School Students for Post- Secondary Education in Central, PA

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Like all local heroes, and nascent entrepreneurs, Myra Blackwell successfully identified a business opportunity after listening to the needs and challenges in her community.  As a result, Myra Blackwell, also known as the “College Prep Lady”, began the courageous journey to create a new venture that aims to simplify the process of applying for college by coaching high school students and their parents on how to finance a college education, and the chronological steps to take in order to prepare for college. Blackwell explains that her one-stop shop workshops allow the stressful process of applying for college be something that students and parents are excited about—rather than something they dread.


In January 2016, the annual College Prep Workshop was hosted as a free event offered by the Scholarship Committee of her church - in which Blackwell chairs. “Too many students and parents were unaware of the appropriate steps to take in order to prepare for college and/or a trade school,” explained Blackwell, “because of the ongoing need for this valuable information in the community and the workshop’s level of success I decided to make this into a business.”


Blackwell explains that the success of her start up would otherwise be highly unlikely without the KUSBDC’s assistance, “I attended the First Step to Starting Your Business workshop in Harrisburg, hosted by business consultant Linda Grove, and was given valuable advice.  Very rarely are people interested in sharing their knowledge…it was obvious that Linda had firsthand experience”. 
Kutztown University Small Business Development Center (KUSBDC) assisted Blackwell with entrepreneurial success through consulting services that guided her through the business plan model, marketing resources, and operation of business. She reviewed start up ideas and various target market strategies, then she created her own sell sheet. “She was dedicated to completing the action steps necessary to get her idea off the ground,” stated Linda Grove, “I provided her the tools and she tackled her startup by consistently participating and fully completing the recommended action steps”


Since the start of her business in 2018, Blackwell has hosted her first solo College Prep Workshop, which was been covered by the local news. She has been featured on ABC27 News, CBS21 News, and in the Central Penn Business Journal for her events. Blackwell also worked to establish a local retail partnership to help high school students, who attend the workshops, to receive discounts on professional attire. “These students will need to be prepared for job interviews, college interviews, and in-person scholarship interviews, and so forth. I want to be sure my program prepares students, and I know this retailer is very excited about this venture and looking forward to attending my next workshop to promote the program,” stated Blackwell.