Dear Dan: Call us crazy, but my partners and I are planning to start a new business in spite of the recession. We’re short on funds, but long on enthusiasm. Are there places that offer free help to startups? -Crazy Startup
Dear Crazy: America’s nationwide network of Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs) – which offer free help to business owners and startups – is seeing an uptick in entrepreneurial activity. Despite the recession (and sometimes because of it), more people are moving forward to start their own ventures.
“We’re certainly still seeing individuals interested in starting businesses, and I can’t say we’re surprised,” says Christian Conroy, State Director of the Pennsylvania SBDC, a network of 18 university- and college-based centers providing help to new and existing businesses in that state.
Helping new businesses start is a hallmark of the SBDC program, which counts roughly half of its client base in the startup category. On-Site Heavy Equipment Repair in Clarence, PA is one example of a startup that forged ahead despite a dubious economy. Husband and wife team Don and Coleen Reese began their business just after the collapse of Bear Stearns in 2008. Working through the Penn State University SBDC, the Reeses received help developing a financial model and doing market research that helped them secure startup capital. Read the full entry