The University of Scranton Small Business Development Center was awarded more than $317,000 in CARES Act Funding from the United States Small Business Administration to expand education, training and business advising to address the issues faced by small businesses as a result of the pandemic, such as supply chain disruptions, staffing challenges and a decrease in gross receipts or customers.

“Small, locally-owned businesses are among the entities hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Lisa Hall Zielinski, director of The University of Scranton SBDC. “The funding will allow us to increase our staff and other resources to provide additional outreach and programming, as well as one-on-one confidential consulting to small business owners to assist them with the individual challenges they are facing because of the pandemic.”

The expanded training and programming will address how small businesses can protect their workplaces, employees and customers against potential health and safety threats, including the prevention of the transmission of COVID-19 and other communicable diseases. In addition, training will be offered to educate small businesses on best practices to develop and execute continuity of operations through planning, telework and remote management and customer service practices to sustain business activities during periods of interrupted business service. The SBDC will also continue to assist businesses with accessing the various financial resources available to them.

Scranton’s SBDC, housed in the University’s Kania School of Management, was among the 16 SBDC Centers in the Commonwealth awarded CARES Act funds from the U.S. Small Business Administration and passed through the Pennsylvania SBDC network. Scranton’s SBDC was also one of nine PA SBDC centers awarded additional funds to create a Center of Excellence, theirs focused on agricultural and food businesses. CARES Act funding is intended to help mitigate the negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on small businesses.

SBDCs are hosted by leading universities, colleges, state economic development agencies and private partners, and funded in part by the United States Congress through a partnership with the U.S. Small Business Administration. There are nearly 1,000 local centers available to provide no-cost business consulting and low-cost training to new and existing businesses. The University of Scranton SBDC serves eight counties in Northeastern and Northern Tier Pennsylvania, including Bradford County.