The Binghamton University Small Business Development Center (SBDC) aims to expand the student appeal of local enterprises.
Regional Director Rochelle Layman has been working for the SBDC since 2008, providing free and confidential services to clients across Broome, Cortland, Chenango, Delaware, Otsego, Tioga and Tompkins Counties.
According to Layman, in the last fiscal year the SBDC aided 764 clients who invested over $18 million in New York’s economy. Much of what the organization does, Layman said, is prepare businesses for proper funding.
“The job market is tough, and there’s opportunities for small business,” Layman said.
The SBDC at Binghamton University can offer help with startup assistance, business plan development, accounting and financial projections, sources of financing, marketing, business expansion and relocation and agribusiness.
While these services come at no cost to interested parties, Layman said that few students and recent graduates visit the center for assistance. She said she hopes to see more students coming into the SBDC with business ideas, but also believes that the center generally provides students with opportunities and helps them plan for the future.
“I’d absolutely like to see more students come,” Layman said. “We could prepare their business idea and help them be entrepreneurs. It may not be something they’re ready to do the day after they graduate, but we can help them prepare.”
In the last year, Layman said only about four or five students came in for any of the offered services. Some students, like Julie Breshin, had not heard about the services available at the SBDC.
“I’ve never heard of these services before … but I think it’s a great resource that the school provides,” said Breshin, a junior majoring in accounting.
Spencer Kostrinsky, a senior majoring in accounting, said he sees the SBDC as a great tool for those students who stay in Binghamton longer than their four years at BU.
“I would consider using this type of service because every business plan can use a dose of criticism to help and especially when it’s free,” Kostrinsky said. “It seems like a first stop for anyone really looking to take the next step with an exciting idea.”
Layman said that SBDC has serviced a number of bars and restaurants, including Water Street Brewing Co. in Binghamton. According to SBDC’s 2012 report, the founders of Water Street Brewing Co. attended the startup business course offered by the Binghamton SBDC to learn about owning a brewery. Unless mentioned on SBDC’s annual report, all clientele remain confidential.
Any interested individual in the New York area can contact the SBDC at BU. According to their website, particular emphasis is placed on helping manufacturers, women, veterans and minorities.
“We like to say we help them from the start of the business plan to when we sell their business,” Layman said. “A person does not wake up one day and say, ‘I want to be an entrepreneur’ and the next day open up a business … We increase the likelihood of your success.”