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Small Business Development Center

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The Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at Shippensburg University provides no-cost confidential consulting and low cost training to small business owners and potential entrepreneurs in Adams, Cumberland, Franklin and York counties. We help entrepreneurs make sound decisions for the successful operation of their business. Our consulting services are offered at no-charge and your information is always confidential.

SBDC consultants help entrepreneurs develop the planning, management, and financial skills necessary to make their business thrive. The SBDC's one-on-one management consulting emphasizes education and guidance in finding practical solutions to business problems. Consulting is confidential and provided at no charge by a staff of skilled professionals.

SBDC's one-on-one consulting services for established businesses and pre-venture clients include:

  • Accounting and Bookkeeping
  • Business Plan Development
  • Capital Acquisition
  • Computing Applications and MIS
  • Customer Service
  • Energy Efficiency
  • Environmental Management Issues
  • Feasibility Analysis
  • Financing and Loan Packaging
  • Financial Analysis
  • Franchising
  • Government Contracting
  • Home-based Business
  • International Trade
  • Legal Issues
  • Long Range Planning Management
  • Manufacturing
  • Marketing and Advertising
  • Market Research
  • Minority Business Development
  • Personnel
  • Product Development/ Engineering
  • Public Relations
  • Retailing
  • Regulatory Assistance
  • Strategic Planning
  • Taxes
  • Technology Commercialization
  • Women's Business Issues
  • Worker Health and Safety Issues

Make a request for consulting today!

The Pennsylvania SBDCs also offer services to small business owners through a number of specialized programs. These programs provide assistance in areas requiring greater depth of knowledge and experience beyond standard business management expertise. These services include:

Government Marketing: For companies that want to bid on government contracts. If your firm is looking to expand its sales base by participating in the government marketplace, the Bid Match system will help you identify federal, state and local government opportunities, and will save you significant time and money.

International Business: Specialists are available to consult with firms that want to enter into or expand in the global marketplace. Here are some reasons your company should consider this service:

  • International trade boosts profits
  • Foreign markets represent a major growth area for U.S. companies and are becoming more accessible as trade barriers are breaking down
  • Exporting minimizes risk through market diversification. Long-term business success may depend on participation in the global economy
  • Diversification abroad can offset loss of sales at home
  • Good markets abroad may still exist for products that have reached the end of their domestic lifecycle
  • Entering new markets, particularly international markets, challenges a company to stay current with technological developments
  • Importing opportunities can help reduce the cost of goods and offer your business new market opportunities

Environmental Management Assistance Program: Provides improvements to your bottom line through pollution prevention, energy efficiency and strategic environmental management.

Technology Assistance: For high growth and technology firms with sophisticated business management issues.

Business Continuity and Survival: For small businesses creating, updating and refining their continuity plans.

Shale Energy Assistance: Small businesses, regardless of proximity to a primary drilling location, may be able to take advantage of Marcellus Shale supply chain opportunities to grow their business.

The Pennsylvania SBDC are ready to help businesses in all stages with a variety of issues.


The Small Business Development Center offers courses, seminars and conferences that provide up-to-date, practical information on a wide variety of business topics. Programs teach basic business skills as well as more advanced and specific business management techniques and processes. These low cost workshops feature experts and leaders from industry, government, higher education, and professional associations. Workshops are held in Carlisle, Chambersburg, York, and other locations around Adams, Cumberland, Franklin and York counties.

Visit SBDC's Training Events Calendar to register for a workshop. Can't make it to a workshop? Find out about our online webinars and trainings today.

SBDC offers additional resources to help businesses develop and grow.

As a client of the Shippensburg University Small Business Development Center, you have certain rights and responsibilities. You have the right to expect:

Consulting Assistance Provided at No Charge: Because SBDC is supported by funding from the U.S. Small Business Administration, the Pennsylvania Department of Community Economic Development, Shippensburg University and other funders, consulting is provided at no charge to you. Fees may apply for training programs, special services (such as research), materials, and publications.

Confidentiality of Information Provided: All SBDC representatives agree to abide by the Pennsylvania SBDC's Standards of Professional Ethics and Conflict of Interest Policy. Information you provide will not be released to any parties outside of the Pennsylvania SBDC network. Information about you or your company will not be sold or provided to other organizations. Specific information about you and the nature of your engagement with the SBDC will not be released without your consent. No information you provide will be used to the commercial advantage of any SBDC representative or to the advantage of a third party. There are a few exceptions:

  • Information about the SBDC's service delivery is reported in aggregate to its funders and the general public. Specific information about you will not be released without your consent.
  • The SBDC will collect and report in aggregate to its funders and the general public information on you such as demographic statistics; size, location, age and industry of your business; the general nature of your engagement with the SBDC; and impact statistics such as financing obtained, sales increased or jobs created.
  • If you were referred to the SBDC, the SBDC will notify the referrer that you have sought assistance from the SBDC. The SBDC, however, will not disclose in detail the nature of the assistance you are requesting.

Unbiased Recommendations: SBDC representatives will not knowingly recommend the purchase of goods or services from any individual or firm with which any SBDC representative has a financial, familial or personal interest.

Non-Disclosure of Trade Secrets: Sensitive trade secrets pertaining to unique facts of your business will not be used to benefit another client of the SBDC or any SBDC representative. You understand that sensitive trade secret information is information which is not obvious, which is unknown, or which is unique and pertains to new inventions, secret manufacturing and processing procedures or formulas, or any new innovative process. You understand that it is your responsibility to inform the SBDC of any such sensitive trade secrets both verbally and in writing.

Assistance, Guidance, Recommendations and Education: The SBDC program is an educational program. The SBDC will work with you on your specific issues to help build your management skills and knowledge. It is your responsibility to accept and implement recommendations. The SBDC will not:

  • Negotiate on your behalf
  • Write your business plan
  • Act as an employee of your business

You are responsible for:

Participating in Surveys: Because this program cares about the quality of services provided, and because it is primarily funded with public support, the SBDC undertakes a number of initiatives to ascertain the quality and impact of services provided to you. Your candid feedback is critical to the long-term success of this program. You will be asked to participate in three surveys:

  • A satisfaction survey after the completion of your consulting engagement.
  • An impact survey after the close of each calendar year for the next three years.
  • A quality and impact survey conducted by an independent firm two years after the start of your consulting engagement.

Informing Legislators About the Service: Consulting services are provided at no charge to you because of the financial support of the federal government and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. To ensure the SBDC program will be available to others, we may ask you to write to your legislators to let them know about your experience with the program.

Accepting Responsibility and Waiving All Claims: In recognition that you are ultimately responsible for the success or failure of your business and that all decisions pertaining to implementing plans and operating your business are solely your responsibility, you hereby waive any claims of damages against the host University SBDC and the Pennsylvania SBDC program, the host University, the US Small Business Administration, and the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development, based on any advice or information provided by the SBDC.

Partnerships are key to the success of Pennsylvania's SBDC program. SBDC is a public-private partnership that leverages the resources of government, higher education, and the business community to facilitate the growth of Pennsylvania's small firms. Funding support and resources are provided by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, the U.S. Small Business Administration, the 18 participating colleges and universities, local economic and community development organizations, the financial and professional communities, and the Defense Logistics Agency among others.

Service Partners: These relationships allow for cross referral of clients and cooperative consultation services and training programs. The SBDC have strong working relationships with the following organizations among many others:

Chamber of Commerce


Economic Development Corporation

Main Street Programs

Other Partners

Funding Partners: The Shippensburg University SBDC is sponsored by Shippensburg University and the Pennsylvania Small Business Development Centers.

Funding support and resources are provided by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in part by a grant from the Department of Community & Economic Development, and by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). SBA's funding is not an endorsement of any products, opinions or services. SBA funded programs are extended to the public on a non-discriminatory basis.

The Shippensburg University Small Business Development Center is one of 18 Small Business Development Centers in Pennsylvania and is an accredited affiliate of the National Network of Small Business Development Centers.

Starting or growing a business is hard work. You certainly will have plenty of questions along your journey. And depending on the stage of your idea or business, those questions will change, sometimes frequently. Fortunately SBDC can help. The following categories from the SBDC Pennsylvania website may help you learn more about your specific questions.

Robin Burtner, Business Consultant/Educational Programs Coordinator/Budget Coordinator

Robin has an MBA and MA in Higher Education Administration. Business Consulting, educational programs coordination, budget coordination, reporting and website management are among her job assignments in the SBDC. Robin has earned the Small Business Administration Export Counselor Certification, SBA/TPCC Certified, and is available on assisting businesses that are interested in exporting.

Charles J. Haney, EMAP Consultant

Charles Haney has a BS in Environmental Resource Management and a MS in Environmental Science and Management. As an environmental consultant, his duties include assisting businesses with environmental compliance and energy efficiency.

Michael H. Unruh, Director

Michael Unruh is the founding director of the Shippensburg University SBDC and has been with the Center since it opened in January 2007. Mike was an entrepreneur in the construction industry with over ten years of small business management experience before moving into the university setting. He holds bachelors and master's degrees from James Madison University and a doctorate from the University of Delaware.

Cheryl E. Young, Business Consultant

Cheryl has a BS degree in marketing from Penn State University. She and her husband have been business owners in the restaurant industry for over 15 years. As a business consultant she is responsible for assisting entrepreneurs, conducting workshops and coordinating intern duties.

All services are provided by our staff of highly qualified consultants. The Shippensburg University SBDC also taps the expertise of industry experts, successful entrepreneurs, and other business professionals to deliver its educational programs.


Shippensburg University SBDC
405 Grove Hall, 1871 Old Main Drive, Shippensburg, PA 17257


Phone: (717) 477-1935
Fax: (717) 477-4010
Email: sbdc@ship.edu

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Shippensburg University SBDC is an accredited affiliate of the National Network of Small Business Development Centers www.pasbdc.org

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Funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration. All opinions, conclusions or recommendations expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the SBA. All services extended to the public on a non-discriminatory basis. © 2015 Pennsylvania Small Business Development Centers. All Rights Reserved.

Funding support and resources are provided through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration; by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania through the Department of Community & Economic Development; and in part through support from Shippensburg University and other sources. All services are extended to the public on a non-discriminatory basis. Special arrangements for persons with disabilities can be made by calling 717-477-1935. All opinions, conclusions or recommendations expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the SBA. SBDC services are not available to individuals or entities that have been debarred or suspended by the federal government. By agreeing to receive assistance from the SBDC you are self-certifying that you are not currently federally debarred or suspended and also agree to cease using SBDC services if you become federally debarred or suspended in the future.