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Widener’s Small Business Development Center named SAP Next-Gen Lab

Widener University is pleased to announce that the Small Business Development Center's Success Lab has been named a SAP Next-Gen Lab.

Widener University is pleased to announce that the Small Business Development Center's Success Lab has been named a SAP Next-Gen Lab.

Chester, Pa. – Widener University's School of Business Administration and Small Business Development Center (SBDC) are pleased to announce that SBDC's Success Lab has been named a SAP Next-Gen Lab for design thinking and analytics.

The lab is an innovative space where students, faculty and business consultants gather to find solutions to help clients start or grow their businesses. The SAP Next-Gen Lab designation will expand these opportunities to connect the university with leaders in industry and academia who are using design thinking to develop methods to drive the digital transformation of industries and solve the world's most serious problems, as identified in the 17 global goals set by the United Nations.

"The Success Lab has become an environment in which students, faculty and staff embrace the entrepreneurial spirit and culture of leadership that are hallmarks of the Widener University School of Business Administration," said Dean Jayati Ghosh. "The SAP Next-Gen Lab designation reinforces our commitment to expanding community and business partnerships that will help students go on to positively influence their workplaces, professions and communities."

Lenin Agudo, director of Widener's SBDC, said the SAP Next-Gen Lab designation reaffirms the value of the SBDC's unique approach to solving clients' business problems.

"This trailblazing designation is crucial to inspiring other small business development centers to evolve and adopt creative solutions when assisting clients," Agudo said. "We want to lead by example – fostering collaboration, innovation and creativity using our e-design thinking philosophy."

"We are pleased to have Widener University join our growing global network of 130+ SAP Next-Gen Labs and hubs at universities" said Ann Rosenberg, senior vice president and global head of SAP Next-Gen. "The labs foster 'Innovation with Purpose' linked to the UN Sustainable Development Goals by connecting companies to academic thought leaders, researchers & students, startups and accelerators, tech community partners, venture firms, purpose driven partners, and digital innovation experts from SAP."

Success Lab

As a member of the Pennsylvania network of Small Business Development Centers and the national Association of Small Business Development Centers, Widener's SBDC has since 2007 been providing consulting services and educational programs to small business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs in southeastern Pennsylvania.
Widener's SBDC opened the Success Lab in the Leslie C. Quick Jr. Center in January 2018 as a fun space to help consultants lead active, participatory sessions with entrepreneurs. The space features high-tech gadgets and surfaces that allow clients to write, draw and design as they engage in mission-specific and outcome-driven brainstorming activities.

"Our goal was to move as far away as possible from a predictable counseling session around a boardroom table," Agudo said. "As a result, the Success Lab was physically designed to extract the best results by inspiring entrepreneurs to take control of the tools and four dimensions of the room to build and grow their businesses."

To align its services with this innovative space, the SBDC redefined its consulting process and created a series of packaged consulting sessions, called Strat Chats and Growth Sprints. A central component of the revamped consulting services are student-driven, research-based projects that allow students to apply course concepts to real businesses.

For example, SBDC partnered with a business course this semester to facilitate a secret shopper program, in which students are sent to local businesses – all SBDC clients – to assess the companies from a professional marketer's perspective. The assignment provides students with marketing field experience, while offering the businesses with invaluable information on how well they're operating, and possible recommendations for improvements.

SAP Next-Gen Lab

SAP is the world's largest provider of enterprise application software. Widener's School of Business Administration has been a member of the SAP University Alliances program since 1998, allowing both undergraduate and graduate business students to earn an SAP Student Recognition Award by completing courses that use SAP software.

"Our strong partnership through the SAP University Alliances program opened the door for the Widener SBDC to apply for the SAP Next-Gen Lab designation for its Success Lab," said Yvonne Antonucci, a professor and SAP University Alliances faculty coordinator. "Students will now benefit from even more class projects and internship opportunities that allow them to understand how technology can enable integrated business processes and strategic thinking."

This new designation also allows Widener to broaden its SAP-related curriculum, bringing new methodologies and applications to enhance the student experience.

As one of 130+ SAP Next-Gen Labs and hubs at universities globally, the designation will open new channels for collaboration. The Widener SBDC will be working with Antonucci and other faculty to launch additional projects that align with Widener curriculum that includes SAP software and will host meet-ups that bridge Widener and the surrounding business community in the coming months.

Check www.widenersbdc.org/ to learn more.

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 seven schools and colleges that offer liberal arts and sciences, professional and pre-professional curricula leading to associate, baccalaureate, master's and doctoral degrees. Visit the university website, http://www.widener.edu/