Every business starts with an idea. What any business owner will tell, however, is just having an idea by no means guarantees success.
Temple University’s Small Business Development Center (SBDC), an outreach center of the Fox School of Business and Management, has been working to help fledgling businesses bridge the gap between concepts to customers since 1983.
“Our mission is to support entrepreneurs and small business owners by providing the knowledge they need to make smart decisions and achieve prosperity,” said Small Business Development Center Director Maura Shenker. “Our consultants work with entrepreneurs in one-to-one sessions to help them with a range of business issues including testing a new business proposition, shaping a business plan and investigating funding opportunities. We provide free consulting services to help small businesses start and existing business owners grow their business — our services are designed to continue to support businesses well after their doors have opened.”
The SBDC brought its business acumen to Temple Ambler for a “Temple Business Roundtable,” on November 14.
According to Shenker, the Temple Business Roundtable at the Ambler Campus will provide “wantrepreneurs” and small business startups “with everything you need to make informed decisions about your business.”
“We hold a Temple Business Roundtable each month at rotating locations. They are geared toward people who want to start a business but aren’t sure how or really where to start. We bring together experts that focus on specific issues that start-ups will face — legal concerns, corporate structures, funding opportunities,” she said. “Entrepreneurs and start-ups tend to feel isolated; I think it’s a real benefit for them to realize they are not alone. They have the opportunity to meet experts, get answers, and hopefully prevent problems before they ever arise.”
The SBDC’s presence at Temple Ambler will be expanding substantially in the near future, said Shenker.
“We already have an office in the Ambler Campus Library Building and one of our consultants, Karl Krauss, is seeing clients who are predominantly from the Montgomery County area,” she said. “In the spring, we are working with Temple Ambler to open up a business incubator for eight to 12 businesses.”
The business incubator, Shenker said, would provide start-up businesses that don’t yet have a home of their own with shared office services.
“It provides them with ready access to computers, phones, space to meet clients while also giving them easy access to consultants and SBDC services. It gives them a place where they can really get their business going without feeling like they have to go it alone,” she said. “We hold lunch and learns for the tenants on specific business topic; it’s a very social enterprise.”
In addition to consultancy and the business incubator, the SBDC is also planning to offer a 10-week “entrepreneurial success” non-credit program at Temple Ambler in spring 2019.
“SBDC offers a variety of educational events and programs. The entrepreneurial success program focuses on getting a business up and running, soup to nuts,” Shenker said. “Toward the end we bring in funders to meet with our participants to give them a chance to make crucial connections.”
Dr. Vicki Lewis McGarvey, Vice Provost for University College and Interim Director of Temple University Ambler said the Small Business Development Center “is a perfect partnership for the Ambler Campus and the surrounding community.”
“Having a business incubator on a college campus where entrepreneurs can access an incredible wealth of resources simply makes sense. We’re very excited to partner with the Small Business Development Center to provide specialized support for start-ups in the region,” she said. “I definitely see the potential for some green industry start-ups, possibly ideas from our own students, to take advantage of the incubator model to get off the ground and thrive. This will be a tremendous resource and a very welcome addition to campus.”
The SBDC at Temple Ambler will be an outreach center “built to help scale up the entrepreneurial ecosystem,” Shenker said.
“It’s another way for Temple to support the community,” she said. “More success and greater prosperity for our clients. That’s our goal.”
For more information about the Small Business Development Center in Temple’s Fox School of Business, visit fox.temple.edu/SBDC.