[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9N9AzPN_COI[/youtube]The Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at the College of Staten Island is well known for providing leadership during many periods of changing economies and unexpected disasters.

Having worked directly with over 6,300 businesses and having created or saved over 4,300 jobs through its consistent service to business leaders for over two decades, the Staten Island Small Business Development Center (SBDC) celebrated their 20 years of service to the local business community.

Back Row, L-R: George Telmany, Mitch Lowell, Christine Purellis,Dean Balsamini, Councilwoman Debi Rose, Robert Rose, Ed Piszko. Front Row, L-R: Mary Hoffman, Elisa Csorba, Eileen Sullivan, Joe Bottega, Ref Sawires.

The SI Small Business Development Center started with one location…now has three.

The Staten Island SBDC is located on the grounds of the College of Staten Island and its Brooklyn satellite office is in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn at a Sovereign Bank office. The Brooklyn satellite office opened two years ago as a result of the Jobs Act. The SBDC at CSI now covers Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights, Bensonhurst, and as of 2013 will begin covering Gravesend. The SI SBDC’s third office, its New Dorp Satellite office, opened in May 2013. This office, at the Empire State Bank branch at 1361 N. Railroad Ave., helps businesses impacted by Sandy get answers and find assistance needed to reopen.

Its steadfast dedication to providing supportive services and counseling to the variety of businesses in Staten Island and Brooklyn has helped these businesses to invest over $ 140 million in the area’s economy. Since 1993 the Staten Island SBDC, a program of the U.S. Small Business Administration, has demonstrated the ability and wherewithal to address the unique challenges faced by our business community in a speedy and efficient manner.

The SI Small Business Development Center responded to Superstorm Sandy by:

– Establishing a Business Recovery Center (BRC) at CSI
– Hosting the U.S. Small Business Administration in our community
– Presenting workshops
– Counseling approximately 250 businesses and helping them navigate through the system
– Opening a satellite office near the afflicted communities
– Partnering with key community organizations (Chamber, Business Solutions)

The Staten Island SBDC reacted immediately to the needs of local business owners in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, working with governmental entities such as the Federal Small Business Administration to make sure our business leaders – our neighbors – had information on the variety of options available to them to rebuild their businesses. The SI SBDC over the past year has offered a number of Superstorm Sandy related seminars to aid businesses in the aftermath of the storm and recently tapped into the Spanish Community offering seminars in Spanish. The next Workshop offered in Spanish is on October 14th at Northfield Community LDC.

“From being instrumental in assisting with the location of a federal SBA office on the grounds of the College of Staten Island for business owners to interact personally with government administrators, to the opening of a third SBDC location in New Dorp, closer to the Sandy affected communities, the SI Small Business Development Center has proven to be a leader during one of our community’s most difficult times.” said Dr. Michael Kress, VP for Information Technology and Economic Development at the College of Staten Island.

The Staten Island SBDC recognized quickly after Hurricane Sandy that the many governmental agencies that descended upon our borough offering their support and financial recovery programs would not be mainstays in our community forever. The Staten Island SBDC has and will continue to help business owners recover from the storm – connecting them to resources, analyzing how much the storm cost them in lost business, helping them apply for loans, and much more. Through the efforts of SBDC’s director, Dean Balsamini, business advisors from the Federal Small Business Administration were sent to our community aiding businesses with tasks such as filling out SBA disaster loan applications, helping re-create lost financial records, and developing an emergency response plan for businesses.

The SI SBDC at CSI helped approximately 250 Sandy affected businesses.

“Countless times, SBDC has counseled businesses during difficult economic periods helping them to get back on their feet or helping someone make their dream a reality by opening up a new business. Hurricane Sandy is just the immediate and easily identifiable example of this; yet there were other hard times in which the SBDC was there to lend a helping hand, “said Dean Balsamini. “ In 1998 there was the Asian crisis; in 2000 there was the implosion of the Stock Market. As we all know, September 11, 2001 brought with it challenges for so many people in our community. Also, there was the major recession in 2008 and its lasting impact. During all these periods, SBDC assisted a variety of businesses – start- up businesses and businesses with longevity too, “continued Balsamini.

The Staten Island SBDC helps clients understand the importance of a business plan, discover sources of funding, prepare for e-commerce, identify avenues for exporting goods and services, develop marketing plans, assess an invention’s viability, and comply with licensing and regulations. The center offers a variety of workshops (on average 40 a year) covering these topics and more on a regular basis. Individual counselors are available to address these topics one-on-one; each counselor has their own level of expertise and background.

The Staten Island SBDC celebrated their 20 year service anniversary at a meeting at the Grand Oaks Country Club on October 2, from 5:30 to 8:30 P.M. The event was sponsored by Empire State Bank and Sovereign Bank with a business theme – THE THREE E’s: Education, Entrepreneurship, and Economic Development.

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