The New York State Small Business Development Center (NYS SBDC) has received accreditation without conditions from the national Association of Small Business Development Centers (ASBDC), under U.S. Congressional sanction, for the next four years.
The latest affirmation from the ASBDC comes after a lengthy state-wide self-study and the development of a strategic plan that addressed the program’s goals and objectives for Centers and clients (small business owners and entrepreneurs) at host campuses across the State.
A review team from the ASBDC’s National Accreditation Committee conducted on-site inspections and interviewed Service Center personnel as well as campus officials, sponsors, and clients of the program during a week-long visit to New York State.
“We are exceptionally pleased that the Accreditation Committee recognized past accomplishments and approved a four-year plan for the growth of the program,” said Dean Balsamini, director of the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at the College of Staten Island (CSI).
“Since 1993, the SBDC at CSI has offered free counseling to help small businesses thrive and grow, as well as no-cost business and financial planning and marketing services,” added Balsamini. “We have helped create over 3,000 quality jobs and assisted over 4,000 businesses. But equally important, we are extremely proud to have helped small businesses on Staten Island invest over $100 million dollars locally.”
Take for example Kim Genduso, who graduated from CSI in 2002 with a degree in psychology. After graduation, she found herself running a relative’s struggling iron fabrication company in California, working 18-hour days. Soon, her new company won major contracts from the biggest builders and operated out of a 10,000-square-foot state-of-the-art facility.
This year, Genduso returned east and established a new branch of ARC-TEC Welding and Fabrication Company. She has taken that dream to CSI’s SBDC, where Senior Advisor Refaat Sawires helped her to register as a Minority and Woman-Owned Business, and as an NYC Pre-qualified Contractor and Vendor.
He introduced her to representatives of the Empire State Zone Program, which offers tax credits and other incentives for locating manufacturing businesses in economically challenged areas. Once again, hard work paid off. ARC-TEC recently invested $375,000 in a headquarters building in Port Richmond, and Genduso plans to invest up to $1 million in a new state-of-the-art shop.
“Refaat Sawires and the Staten Island SBDC understand manufacturing and what it takes to succeed as a New York business,” says Genduso. “They have been a great help to me.”
“CSI is dedicated to providing not only a world-class education to our students, but also being a resource to the growing needs of Staten Islanders and its business owners,” says CSI President Tomás Morales, “and our commitment to community is evident in the continued growth and success of our alumni and the SBDC.”
The SBDC at CSI is open Monday through Friday, 9:00am to 5:00pm. They can be reached at 718.982.2560.
Mr. James King, State Director for the NYS SBDC, said, “These reviews are a part of the four-year national accreditation review cycle. ASBDC Reviewers will visit the NYS SBDC again in 2012 for our next accreditation review. This is the fifth consecutive accreditation review in which the New York program has displayed continuous growth and progress, meriting full accreditation without exception, a distinction only granted to an average of ten to 15% of State or Regional SBDC programs. We are very proud of our record of achievement and will continue to seek excellence in services.”
The ASBDC Accreditation Committee is the unit of the national Association of Small Business Development Centers operating under federal statutory approval and overseen by the U.S. Small Business Administration. NYS SBDC Service Centers are hosted by colleges and universities in New York State that include The State University of New York, The City University of New York, and private institutions. The Review Team that visited New York was composed of ASBDC representatives from Delaware, the District of Columbia, Missouri, and New Mexico. The ASBDC has Member programs from all 50 States and the US territories, as well as international institutions.
The NYS SBDC has been a member of the ASBDC since 1984 and a founding member of the forerunner to the Accreditation Committee in 1988. During its history, the NYS SBDC has been recognized with 20 regional and national awards for excellence. The NYS SBDC was awarded the highest national honor for its work with small businesses after the 9/11 attacks, the National Phoenix Award for Disaster Assistance, hosted in Washington, DC by then Secretary of State Colin Powell, a native New Yorker.