Staten Island Small Business Development Center (SBDC) Regional Director Dean Balsamini and his team spoke to a group of graduate students who are currently attending the University of Calabria in Italy on July 12. The visiting students are from diverse backgrounds, primarily Italian from the Southern Region of Italy along with students from Morocco, Peru, Pakistan, Ghana, and Asia. Prior to Balsamini’s presentation, he introduced himself and his staff and conducted a roundtable of introductions from the students.

Once the presentation commenced, the students were eager to hear what the SBDC was about and Balsamini provided slides and an explanation of the services that all SBDC Centers in the U.S. offer. Many of the students were surprised to learn that the SBDC offers small businesses a no-cost service, as such a program does not seem to exist in their respective countries. After the presentation, a Q&A session was encouraged, and the students were happy to be asked their thoughts about the SBDC program and what their future professional ambitions are.

According to Ed Piszko, NYS Certified Senior Business Advisor at the SI SBDC, “It was mutually agreed upon by both the visiting students and the members of the SBDC that the session was rewarding to all participants. The graduate students gained an appreciation of the specific local client success stories related to them. The SBDC staff developed an understanding of the goals and aspirations of these visiting international business students and how they relate to their counterparts at CSI.”

The event was coordinated and orchestrated by Winnie Brophy, the Director of Special Programs and Initiatives at the Center for Global Engagement at the College of Staten Island (CSI).

By Angela Chuppe and Bonnie Arciero