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SBDCs in Shippensburg, Kutztown see 2014 increase in investments for clients

Clients of two midstate small-business centers attracted higher levels of investment last year, according to a 2014 report from the Pennsylvania Small Business Development Centers.

The Kutztown SBDC went from about $10 million in new investments obtained by its clients in 2013 to more than $17 million, while the Shippensburg SBDC more than doubled from about $4.4 million to $10.9 million.

Client-obtained investment is any form of capital raised by SBDC-assisted businesses, including loans and equity capital, according to Kelly Cofrancisco, outreach and partnership manager for the Pennsylvania SBDC.

Michael Unruh, director of the Shippensburg SBDC, said the local rise in client-obtained investment in 2014 stemmed from “several pre-venture clients” that needed “significant” startup capital. The businesses were in the manufacturing and hospitality sectors, which generally require unding for real estate, facilities and equipment, he said.

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“It’s all about the eventual success of whatever clients come through our doors,” Unruh said in an email.

Shippensburg’s SBDC consulted with 350 entrepreneurs and businesses in 2014, up from 332 in 2013. Kutztown’s SBDC staff served 681 clients, down from 761 in 2013.

The network of 18 SBDCs across the state provides consulting, training and information resources to strengthen new and existing businesses.

The Kutztown SBDC covers Berks, Chester, Dauphin, Lancaster, and Lebanon counties. The Shippensburg SBDC covers Adams, Cumberland, Franklin and York counties.

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Breakdowns by county were not immediately available.

New client sales saw a steep decrease at the Shippensburg SBDC, from about $29 million in 2013 to about $4 million last year. New client sales represent increased sales that clients report as a result of working with the SBDC, Cofrancisco said.

Unruh said the 2013 figure was “much higher than our typical year” because of some clients in the manufacturing sector assisted by the center that year.

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At Kutztown, new client sales jumped from about $29 million to $67.9 million.

Overall in Pennsylvania, new client-obtained investment went from $138.8 million to almost $162.8 million — a jump of about 17.3 percent.

“As these figures demonstrate, demand for SBDC services remains strong,” Pennsylvania SBDC State Director Christian Conroy said.

Michael Sadowski

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