Minuteman News Center

Small Business Development Center Opens in Fairfield

by Kendra Wingate | March 1, 2016

The Connecticut Small Business Development Center opened a satellite office in Fairfield last week to provide additional support and resources to the small businesses community. The center provides no-cost advice to new, prospective, and existing business owners, aiding them in starting or expanding their business.

The Connecticut Small Business Development Center (CTSBDC) is funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration, the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development and the University of Connecticut. This free resource offers confidential, custom designed services which assist all different types of businesses from home-based to high tech and more. The advisors are experienced in assisting businesses with growth strategies while also providing tools which are imperative to turning struggling businesses around. The CTSBDC services often report accelerated growth and improved access to capital financing.

“The Connecticut Small Business Development Center is a great resource to business owners throughout the state and we were fortunate enough to have Joe Ercolano express an interest of opening up a satellite office in Fairfield and we jumped at the opportunity,” said Mark Barnhart, Director of Economic Development in Fairfield. “They have offices throughout the state and have now made an effort to get into some of the larger communities throughout the state and create satellite offices so they can come out and meet directly with business owners and people looking to start a business in those communities. They provide customized one on one counseling for small business owners and entrepreneurs, technical assistance, business plans, connecting people with other resources in terms of sourcing capital and financing, so it’s really a great resource to our local business community. We are thrilled to have a SBDC here.”

Originating 35 years ago as a small pilot program, the Small Business Development Center Network grew to a nationwide business education and training infrastructure with nearly 1,000 centers throughout the nation providing management and technical assistance to more than one million small business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs each year.

“I think this is another example of how we’re trying to raise service levels to our residents and small business owners,” said Mike Tetreau, First Selectman. “I’m thrilled that Mark Barnhart and his team in Economic Development have brought this capability into Fairfield so that way everybody has easy access to the tools. When you have the questions, you want the answers; you don’t want to wait a month. Especially now that we’ve got the business incubator with Fairfield University and Kleban Properties here in Fairfield and we are exploring different uses for the GE site and one of those is a corporate technology market complex, we have potential need for that with businesses or offshoots that come out of that. I think this is the perfect time for this resource to come to our town and be helpful to us growing our economy and growing our jobs.”

“This SBDC is funded by the federal government, the SBA (Small Business Administration) and the State of Connecticut,” explained Joseph Ercolano, Associate Director at UCONN’s School of Business, CTSBDC.  “We have 13 advisors around the state and this is an opportunity, thanks to the Town of Fairfield, Mark Barnhart and the First Selectman, to put somebody closer to the community which we really appreciate. We provide free, no cost advice, we help clients work on their marketing, work on their business plans find financing, debt or equity  financing to grow their business.  The programs been around for 35 years, it’s national – there are 63 SBDC’s around the country, and last year we helped over 1,700 clients raise almost 42 million dollars in financing, which created over 700 jobs. It’s about economic and community development at the end of the day and it’s a chance to work directly with small businesses and help them to succeed, that’s what we want to do.”

“I will be the Business Advisor here in the Fairfield office,” said Valeria Bisceglia. “I will have open office hours the first and third Friday of every month, I do recommend people call to make an appointment. Our assistance ranges from people who have only an idea for a business – we help them with validation of their idea, figuring out whether it can work or not, evaluating options and helping them search for a market, walking them through the steps, navigating the bureaucracy and guiding them through all the paperwork to businesses that are already operating. We help with anything from expanding, access to capital, marketing strategies, researching markets, exporting/importing resources, we help people figure it all out and it’s all free.”

Small business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs are encouraged to visit the Center’s Fairfield office located on the second floor of the Old Town Hall, 611 Old Post Road, for a free, face to face business consultation on writing business plans, accessing capital, marketing, regulatory compliance, international trade and more.  Call to schedule an appointment with Counselor Valeria Bisceglia on the first or third Friday of each month between 1 and 4:30 p.m. by calling 855.428.7232. Walk ins are also accepted.

Originally posted at http://www.minutemannewscenter.com/articles/2016/03/01/westport/business/doc56d5e7a15e66b132808065.txt by Kendra Wingate in the Minuteman News Center, “Small Business Development Center Opens in Fairfield”. Published on March 1, 2016, Accessed on March 2, 2016.

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