Penn State SBDC FAQs

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT PENN STATE SBDC

Get answers to our most commonly asked questions.

Who is eligible to receive assistance from the Penn State SBDC?

We provide small business consulting and educational training services to entrepreneurs in Centre, Clinton, Lycoming, or Mifflin counties. We can support to business owners who currently run or are looking to start a for-profit business in Pennsylvania.

What is the cost for the SBDC services?

The SBDC provides no-cost consulting services. Minimal fees may be charged for seminars and workshops to cover costs of instructors, materials, etc.

Do you have to be in business to use the services of the Small Business Development Center?

No. You only must be considering the idea of opening a business or researching the feasibility of a proposed profit-making venture.

Can I get help from the SBDC if my business is set up as a non-profit business?

Because of the SBDC’s funding guidelines, the Center is not able to assist businesses that are established as not-for-profit.

What can I expect from an SBDC business consultant?

At your initial meeting, your consultant will review your business proposal, determine a course of action, and identify areas of responsibility for both of you. Your consultant will then follow-up with an engagement letter detailing your meeting and listing the items each of you will be working on, along with an estimated time frame for completion.

How can the SBDC help someone just thinking of starting a business?

The Penn State SBDC offers a monthly pre-venture seminar, called “The First Steps to Small Business Success,” for individuals seeking general information on starting a business or who are in the initial start-up phase. This seminar provides the basics for getting a business up and running. Upon completion of the start-up seminar, we recommend connecting with an SBDC consultant who can continue to support your small business journey.

How long will it take to write a Business Plan?

A comprehensive business plan generally takes from six months to a year to complete, but that could be less depending on how much time you are willing to spend writing your plan. The writing of a business plan is an educational process in which you learn about your business and how you expect it to operate. It should reflect your goals, objectives, priorities, and management style. Your business plan is a joint venture with your consultant; the SBDC consultant will not write a business plan for you.

My business has been established for some time. How can the SBDC help me?

The SBDC provides one-on-one consulting in business planning, marketing and promotion, financial analysis, and accounting. In addition, a Procurement Assistance program is available for companies that want to bid on Federal government contracts. International trade assistance is also available for businesses looking to enter or expand in the global marketplace. An Environmental Management Assistance program is also available.

How do I get financing?

The SBDC does not provide direct financing. Our consultants work with banks and other lending agencies and organizations to assist in putting together financial projections, but the actual financing comes from the lender.