YOUNGSTOWN – Constraints placed on the Ohio Small Business Development Center and Export Assistance Network at Youngstown State University last year enabled it to be innovative in adapting its services to clients’ needs, says Patricia Veisz, director.
The center transitioned to virtual meetings to assist clients with the Paycheck Protection Program and Economic Injury Disaster Loan,
post-COVID expansion plans and exporting strategies. The SBDC also provided market research, financial forecasting and analysis, loan proposals, creative problem-solving techniques and other growth opportunities, Veisz says.
Those efforts led to a record $33.9 million in capital formation and investment, 415 business clients, 260 jobs created and 1,800 retained. Export Assistance Network clients recorded more than $10.6 million in increased sales and are exporting to 86 countries.
Of the 12 Ohio Export Internship Program students who completed the Williamson College of Business Administration’s exporting class and worked summer internships with area companies, more than half were offered internship extensions or jobs.
For clients impacted by supply chain disruptions, the center conducted seven exporting events including a workshop to help with trade changes.
“All the programs helped to shed light on and provide assistance with current supply chain issues,” Veisz says. “Many companies were able to formulate new strategies.”
Also in 2020, the center sponsored a record number of webinars and business programs, including its Cultivating Enterprise Opportunities, or C.E.O. program for existing businesses, which returns in 2021.
And the center developed the Inquisit digital assessment tool to identify areas of opportunity, offer recommendations, educational resources and provide consulting support.