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Widener SBDC Receives Full Accreditation

The Widener University Small Business Development Center received its accreditation certificate from the Association of Small Business Development Centers, the national accrediting body for Small Business Development Centers under contract from the U.S. Small Business Administration. The Pennsylvania Small Business Development Center network, of which Widener is a member, was awarded accreditation for the fifth time.

Lenin Agudo, director of the Widener University SBDC, received Widener’s accreditation certificate from both Adriana Menchaca-Gendron, SBA associate administrator for Small Business Development Centers, and C. E. “Tee” Rowe, president and CEO of America’s SBDC. This presentation took place at the Pennsylvania SBDC network annual meeting in York, Pa.

The accreditation review process, mandated by Congress, is based on the Malcolm Baldrige Quality Program developed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology to assure that SBDC programs operate efficiently and effectively. Failure to achieve accreditation can result in the loss of federal funding.widener sbdc

A four-member team made up of the leaders of SBDC programs in Virginia, Maryland, Texas and Colorado conducted the Pennsylvania SBDC review. The team assessed several areas of the program, including leadership and organizational management, the strategic planning process, client and stakeholder focus, service delivery and program performance. These standards ensure that the public investment in the program from the federal government, the state government and the host institutions results in strong returns for Pennsylvania’s economy.

SBA Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet congratulated those from the Pennsylvania SBDC network in attendance to receive accreditation. “Small businesses create two out of three net, new jobs in the private sector, and hundreds of thousands of those jobs were created with support from Small Business Development Centers nationwide,” she said. “Your work – day in and day out – is indispensable to America’s entrepreneurs.”

“The Pennsylvania Small Business Development Center Network is commended for both its dedication and commitment to the pursuit of continuous improvement,” stated Beth Melnik, Chair of the ASBDC Accreditation Committee. “Accreditation is important for each SBDC and is essential for the national SBDC program to be recognized as a provider of high-quality business education and advising that results in credible economic impact.”

Since its inception, the Pennsylvania SBDC has helped aspiring entrepreneurs start more than 30,000 businesses, obtain more than $2.5 billion in start-up and expansion capital and increase sales by more than $12 billion. SBDC-assisted companies reported winning more than $2.5 billion in government contracts, grew their international sales by more than $1.4 billion and created more than 140,000 jobs that generate more than $796 million in new tax revenue.

In 2015, the Widener SBDC provided 3,139 hours of consulting services. It received a 90 percent satisfaction rate working with 302 clients in the Delaware County community. From these consulting hours, the SBDC was able to increase client sales by $2.6 million and secure $3.5 million in investments. A total of 105 jobs were created, added and retained because of these successes.

Widener University’s School of Business Administration Dean Jayati Ghosh noted that the Widener SBDC not only helps the Delaware County community, but also the Widener community. “The SBDC at Widener University is an asset to the School of Business Administration. It helps us to be engaged with the small business community in Delaware County. SBDC connects SBA students with local businesses and emerging entrepreneurs and furthers the School's commitment to promoting engagement with the community as well as offering experiential learning opportunities for the students.”

Widener University is a private, metropolitan university that connects curricula to social issues through civic engagement. Dynamic teaching, active scholarship, personal attention, leadership development and experiential
learning are key components of the Widener experience. A comprehensive doctorate-granting university, Widener comprises eight schools and colleges that offer liberal arts and sciences, professional and pre-professional curricula leading to associate, baccalaureate, master’s and doctoral degrees. The university’s campuses are in Chester and Harrisburg, Pa., and Wilmington, Del. Visit the university website,




Photo Caption: Lenin Agudo, director of the Widener SBDC, is presented with an accreditation certificate from the Association of Small Business Development Centers, the national accrediting body for Small Business Development Centers under contract from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). Pictured from left to right are Christian Conroy, state director, Pennsylvania SBDC; Lenin Agudo, director, Widener SBDC; Adriana Menchaca-Gendron, associate administrator, OSBDC, SBA; George Slook, business consultant; C.E. “Tee” Rowe, president and CEO, America’s SBDC; Bruce Downing, government marketing specialist, Widener SBDC; and Peter Hornberger, assistant director, Widener SBDC.