Metroplex Reaches Agreement to Place Small Business Development Center in Schenectady

October 21, 2004

Schenectady, N.Y. – Metroplex today joined with County and City leaders to announce plans by the Small Business Development Center, University At Albany (SBDC,UA) to open an office at the Schenectady County Community Business Center at 920 Albany Street in Schenectady. The new office will centralize small business assistance functions at the Business Center, including the development of business plans and will offer free management and technical assistance to small businesses on a full-time basis.

“We are very excited about making the Business Center a one-stop location for small business,” said Susan E. Savage, Chair of the County Legislature. “Currently, entrepreneurs use the Business Center to hatch and incubate their business. Now, we will be able to offer a full range of technical assistance services to our small business community at this same location.  By housing small business programs under one roof, we will have eliminated the time and expense involved in small businesses going from organization to organization in search of assistance.”

Mayor Brian U. Stratton said, “Small business is big business in Schenectady. I have long been an advocate for making SBDC services available on a full-time basis and today we have achieved that goal. I applaud the efforts of our County Leadership and Metroplex for getting this vital economic development service in place to serve the Schenectady business community.”

In addition to the full time small business counseling service to be provided by SBDC, UA, the New York Business Development Corporation (NYBDC) has also agreed to provide a loan officer at the facility on an appointment basis to discuss its small business financing programs.  The Business Center currently houses 11 small business tenants in a 25,000 square foot facility that includes training rooms, offices and a resource room for small businesses.

Gary Hughes, Chair of the County Legislature’s Committee on Economic Development and Planning said, “Schenectady taxpayers have already saved more than $300,000 due to consolidation of economic development services at the County, City and Metroplex. The result is more not less economic development.  Now, as we bring our small business program into a new era of professionalism and accountability, we enhance our ability to create and preserve jobs by providing world class business advisory services at a fraction of the cost of other options.  Schenectady is not an island.  The rest of the State effectively utilizes SBDC programs and services.  Now, we will do the same.”

There are 23 SBDC offices and 29 outreach offices around the State.  Schenectady will become the 30th outreach office.  SBDC programs are funded by the U.S. Small Business Administration, New York State and the State University of New York.

The Small Business Development Center, University At Albany is in its 20th year of operation.  SBDC employs professional business advisors with experience in financial analysis, business ownership, manufacturing, lending, marketing and economic development. The staff receives extensive training, has access to the SBDC Research Network, and utilizes the many programs and services available throughout the SUNY network. The program equips entrepreneurs with the latest information on developments that may impact their business.

During the last 12 months, SBDC, UA has worked with 1,143 entrepreneurs, provided 8,133 counseling hours, saved or created 947 jobs and helped access over $19 million in financing for business growth.

The SBDC Office in Schenectady will carefully track the outcomes of its contacts with small businesses providing a level of accountability that is crucial to economic development programs. In 2003, the SBDC, UA received the project of the year award from the National Association of Management and Technical Assistance Centers.

William Brigham, Director of the SBDC, UA said, “We value the strong partnership that has developed between the Small Business Development Center, Schenectady County and the City of Schenectady.  This cooperation warrants expanding the Center’s Schenectady presence.  We look forward to providing our full range of services to Schenectady entrepreneurs at the Business Center.”

Metroplex will ask its Board of Directors to approve $46,000 in funding.  SBDC, UA will fund the balance of program costs and expense.

Schenectady County Commissioner of Economic Development and Planning and Metroplex Chairman Ray Gillen said, “One of my first goals was to reorganize economic development services in Schenectady from a loose knit alphabet soup of 35 different programs and services who reported on business contacts but not results into a finely tuned job creating force.  We are not all of the way there yet, but we are getting there. In eight months time we have generated over $73 million in new investment, provided more than 600 new jobs and added 13 buildings to the tax rolls. Today’s announcement will help us move our small business program forward with the recognition that small business will be a catalyst in our economic development efforts.”

Metroplex Vice Chair Brad Lewis said, “We appreciate SBDC, UA’s willingness to expand its services here and look forward to a long and useful partnership.  We welcome their expertise and proven track record in assisting small businesses coupled with the Business Center’s convenient access and the fact that this important service will now be available on as needed basis by Schenectady entrepreneurs.

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