NJSBDC opens affiliate at SHU, first private partnership

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SOUTH ORANGE, NJ — Seton Hall University’s Stillman School of Business and the New Jersey Small Business Development Center celebrated their new partnership with an opening ceremony and ribbon-cutting in Jubilee Hall on the university’s campus in South Orange on Oct. 27.

This new partnership gives Seton Hall University the distinction of being the first private higher education institution in New Jersey to become an “affiliate” partner of SBDC. The affiliate office will provide comprehensive assistance, customized one-on-one counseling, training seminars, and enhanced opportunities for students as well as Essex County entrepreneurs and small business owners.

New Jersey’s SBDC network has provided comprehensive services and programs for small business in New Jersey for 39 years. SBDC experts help businesses expand their operations, manage their growth or start new ventures. Staff members and practicing business consultants help small business owners and entrepreneurs to develop business plans, find financing, conduct accounting and financial analysis, identify new markets, initiate marketing strategies, find procurement and international trade opportunities, learn green sustainability practices, commercialize technology, and develop an e-commerce presence.

“We believe that this will be a great fit for us, given our program in entrepreneurial studies and our marketing research lab,” Joyce Strawser, dean of the Stillman School of Business, said during the ceremony. “This is an opportunity to provide small business owners in our area with the support that they need, and it also gives our students a chance to see firsthand best practices in running a small business, as well as some of the challenges that one might face as a business owner.”

Fahim Abedrabbo, associate director of government relations for Seton Hall University, expressed both his excitement for the new initiative and his thanks to the alumni who approached him with the idea of bringing the organization to campus.

“This is a true partnership, and we started the discussion two years ago of bringing the Small Business Development Center on campus,” Abedrabbo said during his remarks to the audience. “I want to thank alum Steven Gomez and Michael Barna for bringing this idea to us.”

Assemblywoman Mila Jasey, a resident of South Orange, attended the ceremony and presented the university with both greetings and a proclamation on behalf of the state Legislature.

“It’s always fun to be able to attend something that’s six blocks from your house,” she said. “We’re always happy to support anything positive that happens here in town.”

South Orange Board of Trustees members Deborah Davis Ford and Steve Schnall were also in attendance, as well as Bob Zuckerman, executive director of the South Orange Village Center Alliance.

“We’re very happy that the Stillman School at Seton Hall is partnering with the NJ Small Business Development Center because we know that small business development centers can be very helpful to new business owners and budding entrepreneurs in providing them with resources,” Zuckerman said in a recent phone interview with the News-Record. “Now that they are right here in South Orange, those looking for information and resources can go right to the Seton Hall campus for it.

“We are constantly looking for ways to assist aspiring entrepreneurs and aspiring small business owners, and this is one more way of helping,” he continued. “It’s an added benefit that we can direct folks right here in town. With this new partnership, they will be working with both students and business owners on everything from help with contracts, business plans, business loans and legal resources. It’s a wonderful opportunity for South Orange and the surrounding communities.”

In 2016, the NJSBDC network provided one-on-one counseling to more than 4,200 clients; facilitated $88.3 million in financing; and helped clients create and save more than 16,000 jobs in the state; 567 clients started new businesses.

Small business owners and entrepreneurs looking to receive free counseling or interested in attending upcoming entrepreneurial training sessions on the Seton Hall campus should call 973-353-5950.

Photos Courtesy of NJSBDC and Joy Yagid