After more than two decades of serving the Staten Island community and the College of Staten Island (CSI), the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at CSI continues to be an economic anchor in the community, providing resources, training, and one-on-one business counseling, as well as assistance to individuals establishing start-up businesses.
Director Dean Balsamini credits the Center with relentless team work, an intense focus on outreach, and a unique ability to respond to the needs in the local business arena. All of the above surely helped to secure the SBDC’s recent, well-deserved re-accreditation.
The SBDC accreditation process is based on continuous improvement and the National Baldridge Standards of excellence in service. This helps ensure that every SBDC program is continually undergoing self-analysis and growth in a dynamic improvement effort to fully meet the needs of this nation’s small business and entrepreneurial sectors. National Accreditation is a five-year certification that continues through December 31, 2021.
An official letter from New York SBDC State Director James L. King, received after the committee’s official site visit to CSI in August, noted that the core SBDC program, as well as a new special technology program, were “fully accredited without conditions.” King also commended the SBDC on receiving four commendations, pointing out that “it’s very unusual to receive more than two.” The State Director highlighted the Staten Island SBDC’s work in responding to Superstorm Sandy when Balsamini and his staff played a “major role” in establishing the first business recovery center (BRC) in New York City immediately after the storm hit.
Accreditation is critical for SBDCs and essential for the New York State SBDC program, which is recognized as a consistent provider of high-quality business advisement, resulting in credible economic impact. Accreditation qualifies each SBDC to apply for federal (SBA) funds, administered by the Office of Small Business Development Centers. “When the community thrives, the College thrives,” noted Balsamini. “Economic prosperity is very important, as we all know, and we are working hard on job creation and enrichment. My staff has established strong connections and collaborations in the Staten Island community, and I am proud of our work.”
There are currently 24 SBDC centers in New York State, among the the nation’s SBDC National Network. The SBDC at CSI was established in 1993 and continues to serve the community, as well as the College, reaching out to professors and students at CSI when opportunities for involvement arise. Since their start in 1993, the expert advisors of the Staten Island SBDC have worked directly with 7,850 businesses, helping them to invest $170.1 M in the area’s economy, and create or save 5,100 jobs.
NY State Director King further commented that, “It is our ongoing privilege to partner with CSI in the SBDC program and we all appreciate your leadership and commitment to the economic well-being of all of New York… I would be remiss to not acknowledge the pleasure it is to work with Dean Balsamini and the entire staff of the CSI SBDC. Their professionalism and dedication reflect extreme positivity upon CSI and the program.”