Watertown SBDC Selected 2010 National SBDC Center of the Year
The Small Business Development Center at Jefferson Community College has been named the top center in the nation, earning Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Service Excellence and Innovation Award. The award will be presented to Eric Constance, center Director by U.S. Small Business Administration officials during National Small Business Week activities in Washington, D.C. during the week of May 23-25.

The Watertown-based center was chosen from approximately 1000 locations nationally eligible for consideration. The center won at the district and regional levels before winning the national title.

"I was extremely pleased," said F. Eric Constance, center Director. "A key part of our success is that we have a very good staff. I just put the lead out there and they'll do what they need to do to get it done."

The center has five business counselors at JCC and two at SUNY Oswego.

The center submitted statistical information including the number of clients assisted, new businesses started by clients and jobs created by clients during the last six years, along with cumulative statistics for service delivery since the center started in 1986. In addition, the center provided a narrative describing innovative projects and activities.
Overall, the center has assisted 14,646 clients who invested $191,564,053 in their businesses and created or retained 6,953 jobs. In 2009, the center had 855 new clients, trained 1,143 clients, helped with 145 business startups and saw $10.3 million in business investment. The center has been involved in a wide range of projects, including work with dairy profit teams in two counties, partnering with the New York Farm Viability Institute and Jefferson County Agricultural Development Corp.

Another noteworthy program is the center’s outreach to members of the armed services and veterans at nearby Fort Drum. The center’s business advisors regularly participate in Transition Assistance Program workshops for individuals that are retiring or separating from the Army. In addition, they provide counseling, training and mentoring for the Wounded Warriors Unit.

In addition, the center holds an annual "The Business of Women" workshop, co-sponsors an annual Entrepreneurship Day for high school students and routinely hosts Selling to the Government and Matchmaking events to help local companies obtain Fort Drum and government contracts.

“This is truly a significant honor for the Jefferson Center as well as the NYS SBDC,” said James King, State Director. “This is a tribute to Eric, his staff and Jefferson CC for their dedication and commitment to improving Jefferson County and surrounding service areas. All of us within the Statewide SBDC program wish to thank the team there at JCC for bringing this recognition to New York.”
The SBA supports programs that assist with small-business lending, such as loan guarantees for banks.

"The centers are extremely important to us at SBA," said Bernard J. Paprocki, Director of SBA’s Syracuse District. "They are our first line of hands-on counseling and training for businesses in the district and throughout the state."

"We have a very good SBDC network in the state of New York," said Paprocki. "The Jefferson center has been thinking outside the box with the types of programs and online training it offers to adjust to small businesses and different schedules."

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