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Pa. celebrates its Small Business Development Centers, which annually help thousands

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The Pennsylvania Small Business Development Centers, which has 18 locations in the state, including offices run through Lehigh University in Bethlehem and Kutztown University in Reading, is celebrating National SBDC Day by promoting its accomplishments over the last year.

Kelly Cofrancisco, outreach and partnership manager for the SBDC Philadelphia region, said the organization, which helps small businesses prepare business plans and obtain financing, helped small businesses in the state obtain $182.2 million in new investment in 2016.

She said those investments led to about $222 million in sales for those businesses: $184.7 million domestic and $37.1 million international. A total of 7, 150 people received business counseling.

“This is pretty consistent with the number of entrepreneurs we see annually and the state loans obtained,” Cofrancisco said.

Generally, the offices help 7,000 to 8,000 small businesses. In 2015, the centers helped obtain $186 million in loans, slightly more than 2016.

In total, the Pennsylvania SBDC network helped 705 Pennsylvanians start or buy a business in 2016. This resulted in the centers contributing to the saving and creation of 6,628 jobs across the state last year.

It receives its funding from university partners, the U.S. Small Business Administration and the Pennsylvania Department of Community & Economic Development. Between those sources, it has annual funding of $10.7 million.

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Stacy Wescoe

Stacy Wescoe

Writer and online editor Stacy Wescoe has her finger on the pulse of the business community in the Greater Lehigh Valley and keeps you up-to-date with technology and trends, plus what coworkers and competitors are talking about around the water cooler — and on social media. She can be reached at stacyw@lvb.com or 610-807-9619, ext. 4104. Follow her on Twitter at @morestacy and on Facebook. Circle Stacy Wescoe on .

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