OCC’s Small Business Development Center: Startups get jumpstarts, existing businesses get jazzed

This is how dreams come true. Joan Powers knows how to conjure dreams into reality. The director of Onondaga Community College’s Small Business Development Center, Powers says the center assists both startup endeavors and existing businesses “so someone who has a dream – ‘I’ve always wanted to start my own business!’ – we help them to get the research that’s necessary.”

Research helps established businesses as well as newcomers. “So for those who may have a successful business, we help them with their market research, find out what are the trends in the industry, how to target their customer. We help them develop a business plan including financial projections. You want to make sure that the business is going to be successful financially.”

The Small Business Development Center – which is jointly funded by federal, state and local governments – provides many programs and linkages for new or existing businesses. Though located in Onondaga County, SBDC services five counties and assists about 500 clients per year. Onondaga’s SBDC generates an estimated $7 million in economic impact while the center helps its clients receive loans and assists those who have funding of their own. The existence of a local SBDC has certainly improved the business climate in this area, especially for minority entrepreneurs.

Other services are listed below. For additional information or to make an appointment, contact SBDC at 498-6070 or http://www.onondagasbdc.org. SBDC’s services are free and confidential.

If you are an existing business, when you make your appointment you’ll be instructed to bring certain documents with you so that SBDC can assess your situation and determine the best way to be supportive.

New York State Minority Business Enterprise application process

Programs targeting veterans

∙Operation Startup and Grow – March 31, 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., exhibitors, speakers, workshops,

Contractor training

∙In April, training includes HVAC, home renovations, plumbing, carpentry, and other construction-related trades. Also “How to get a Bond.”

Business startup assistance

∙Weekly startup classes every Wednesday from 4 to 6 p.m.

Once a month SBDC hosts what they call a “Fast Track Program” with three days of classes from 9 a.m. to-3 p.m. The program goes into more detail and brings in people from varied areas of expertise, people who can really help small businesses. Participants include experts in accounting, legal, marketing, social media and more. The longer form program allows more time for informal networking.

SBDC receives federal funding from the Small Business Administration along with some state and local funding.

In order for dreams to come true, important decisions need to be made. Joan Powers, the director of the local Small Business Development Center, says her people can facilitate that decision-making process. “We give you the tools to make the decision that’s best for you,” she says. “Whether you decide to follow through with your business idea and grow, well, that’s up to you. We give you resources and tools.”

Photo: SBDC’s Joan Powers

March 2013 Urban CNY