SBDC Day is a national, collective proclamation of the impact that Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs) have on the success of our nation’s dreamers, innovators, and doers – the small businesses of the U.S.

The sixth annual SBDC Day, on Wednesday, March 16, 2022, was celebrated by the Staten Island Center, located on the CSI Willowbrook campus, This off-campus networking event was held at Joyce’s Tavern. The New York Small Business Development Center provides customized solutions through advisement, education, research, and advocacy for entrepreneurs, innovators, and the small and medium enterprise community. Funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), all counseling services are provided at no cost to the small business owner.

The Staten Island Center of the New York SBDC network, founded in 1993, serves the entire 11th Congressional District in Staten Island and South Brooklyn. Over the past three decades, the team’s advisors have worked directly with more than 10,500 businesses, helping them to invest over $243M in the area’s economy, and create or save 8,000 jobs.

Staten Island SBDC Regional Director Dean L. Balsamini commented, “Today’s mixer at Joyce’s Tavern gave me the opportunity to feel the warmth and passion of our SI small business community. Over 40 folks felt the love in this mainstay pub with a Manhattan like aura & applauded their resiliency in surviving the wrath of the COVID-19 Pandemic. We’re all proud of Joe and his team, and what he has done for his family business.”

CSI Interim Vice President for Economic Development, Continuing Studies, and Government Relations Robert Wallace agreed, adding “It was a pleasure to be here today to witness the amazing work of the SBDC and meet some of the people who directly benefited from its efforts. It’s a testimony not only to the expertise of the Center’s staff, but to the strength of our local businesses.”

In March of 2020 at the start of the pandemic, the SBDC network has worked tirelessly around the clock to serve the small business community in need of support. The SBDC team moved all of its individual counseling sessions and training events to a virtual platform, seamlessly transferring their efforts to stay involved with their clients. The SBDC team served as the liaison to the various SBA financial assistance programs, such as the EIDL and PPP, as well as any state- and city-wide loans and grants that were available. The advisors helped small business owners navigate eligibility requirements and application processes, and stayed with them to handle any issues that may have arisen.

One of these clients is Joe O’Toole Sr. of Joyce’s Tavern, established in 1966 and located in the heart of Eltingville Town. Joyce’s Tavern is a local favorite and well-known for their fresh, seasonal fare. Despite the challenges faced since the start of the shutdown, Joyce’s Tavern continues to be a family owned-and-operated establishment by the O’Toole Family, where its old traditions still carry on today.

Joe O’Toole Sr. expressed, “I would like to take this time to recognize one of “My Unsung Heroes” through this COVD-19 Pandemic and his name is Joe Muller. Joe listened, supported me, and gave me hope. He was the one guy that no matter what day, what time or what problem I called him on he ANSWERED MY CALL. Be it counseling, grants, funding, or just a courteous check back, Joe was always positive and optimistic. His outlook and professionalism got me through these terrible times. Now 20+ months later, the Center is assisting us, once again, as we enter into a new business venture offering off-site catering to the community.”

SI SBDC Business Advisor Joe Muller said, “Our Staten Island SBDC team was very happy to provide the services that Joyce’s Tavern and the O’Toole family needed to get back on their feet. We will continue to work with them and all the small businesses that need help during these trying times and always.”

With more than 40 attendees, the Staten Island SBDC received great feedback and testimonials from their SBDC Day Networking Celebration.

“The staff at the Staten Island SBDC are truly superheroes, supporting small business owners!” said Mike Bloomfield, President Geek of Tekie Geek, who was an official America’s #SBDCDay Ambassador.

“The SI SBDC is always there for the small business community, Dean leads an exceptional team and we are proud to have them as a great resource,” stated Gary Perone, Executive Vice President and General Manager of the Staten Island Ferryhawks, the new American Professional Baseball Team located in the Downtown District of Staten Island.

“I love the New York SBDC because my Advisor Megan Baran is so knowledgeable, caring, and always ready to guide me in the right direction for my business. The SBDC is so valuable with great resources and networking,” stated Denise Cesare, owner of T-Suit and author of Moments in Motion with Love.

Lisette Corso, owner of Bisou Di Mar stated, “Today, I had the opportunity to join and meet some of the small business professional advisors from the SBDC, in addition to connecting with community members like Linda Baran from the SI Chamber who were all so friendly and kind! Special thanks to Debra for the invite! Until today, I was unaware of all the free counseling assistance that is offered to help businesses like mine to thrive and grow in the right direction. I can’t wait for what the future may bring!”

To stay in touch with the Staten Island SBDC team, learn more about how they can help you start and grow your business, and check out their upcoming events. You can request an appointment on their Website and follow their social media @sisbdc on Facebook and Instagram. To find a local SBDC near you, please visit or

By Debra Denmark and Megan Baran