SBI educates entrepreneurs

Article Written by : Credit Card Processing News

Entrepreneurs considering starting a new business in Northeast Pennsylvania, or seasoned business owners and managers seeking ways to improve and grow their businesses can take advantage of a new program called the Small Business Institute (SBI) offered by the University of Scranton’s Small Business Development Center (SBDC). Initiated in February of this year, the SBI offers what they “need to succeed.”

Gretchen Kukuchka, manager of trainmg and development at the SBDC, says. the SBI, which was initiated in February, “fulfills a niche market of comprehensive education for small business success in Northeast Pennsylvania .”

The SBI’s program is 12 weeks long and covers marketing, organizational management, legal issues, financial planning, negotiating and ways to capitalize on future trends among other issues.

A partnership effort between the SBDC and MetroAction, an affiliate of the Greater Scranton Chamber of Commerce that helps small businesses acquire financing, and sponsored by Fidelity Bank, the SBI is designed to be affordable and small enough to offer close hands-on training. The tuition is $299 and the target class size is 20. Tbe first session this past spring had 16 attendees, she added.

The curriculum is designed to fill the gaps business owners have with respect to their skills, she said. The objective is to give them the tools to improve their success rates and longevity, she added.

As a small business grows owners and managers find themselves responsible for a longer list of duties, she said. As they go through the program outline, the students build upon each previous class so when they are done they have the knowledge and understanding of how to handle those additional responsibilities and keep a successful growing business, she added.

During the Spring session attendees came from Pike, Wayne and Lackawanna Counties . Response from the first SBI was “extremely positive,” Kukuchka emphasized. Laurie Lourie, executive director of Floral Haven said the knowledge gained surpasses the dollar value paid, according to an SBI press release. Natalie O’Hara, principal from the Hawley Cultural and Creative Aris Center lauded the creative marketing strategies taught at the SBI that she feels are critical for any business owner or manager to implement.

Kukuchka stresses the SBI resulted at the behest of past SBDC seminar attendees who told the SBDC needs to go into more detail about their subjects.

The next SBI session runs from September 14 through December 7 on Thursday mornings from 9am to 11:30am. Kukuchka stresses the institute can help new or seasoned business professionals.

The SBI ofters “Lunch and Learn” bonus sessions, Kukuchka said. She and Christina Hitchcock from MetroAction along with SBI instructors developed these sessions as “offshoots” based on feedback from the Spring class who felt more extensive training on e-marketing, human resource management, accounting and strategic planning would be beneficial. The lunch sessions cost $35 per person and are held from noon to 2 p.m.
Any parties interested in attaining a “better understanding of how to run a small business” through attending the Fall SBI can contact Gretchen Kukuchka at 941-7588. The deadline for sign up is August 28.