Gannon SBDC's Strong 2017 Performance Fuels Optimism for 2018
Posted: February 8, 2018
While cutbacks at large employers dominated the local headlines
in 2017, another trend was quietly making itself felt: small
businesses continue to be established and to grow. That's among the
good news coming from the Gannon University Small Business
Development Center (Gannon SBDC).
During the latest year for which statistics are available, there
were 39,689 businesses employing fewer than 500 persons in the
four-county area (Crawford, Erie, Mercer and Warren) served by
Gannon SBDC. According to Margaret U. Horne, director of Gannon
SBDC, that number is likely to increase. "Last year, over 200
people attended our First Step seminars. Not all of them will
go on to start their own businesses, but many of them will, and
that adds to the vibrancy of the regional economy."
Horne and her staff of four consultants are uniquely positioned
to perceive economic trends in small business activity. Since
its founding in 1981, Gannon SBDC has been a trusted and primary
resource for regional entrepreneurs, who are serviced from offices
in Erie, Greenville and Meadville.
Those consultants work with entrepreneurs in confidential,
individualized sessions to help them with a range of business
issues, such as testing a new business proposition, shaping a
business plan, investigating funding opportunities, and more. In
2017, they provided more than 4,700 hours of counseling services to
380 clients in the four-County service area.
Gannon SBDC clients received more than $22 million in capital
formation in 2017. That amount is more than was recorded by
any of the 17other regional centers, including those in Pittsburgh
and Philadelphia, and represents one-sixth of the total capital
funds secured by clients throughout the Pennsylvania SBDC
As a consequence of these and other efforts, 40 new businesses
were founded, creating 132 new jobs.
In Horne's estimation, current trends point to continued
strength in new business formation and growth for existing
businesses in the region.