Ribbon-cutting ceremony for Stillman School’s SBDC office.
University officials, Small Business Development Center (SBDC) program staff, community members, government officials and stakeholders attended a ribbon-cutting ceremony on October 27 in Jubilee Hall, celebrating the University becoming the first such SBDC affiliate located at a private four-year college or university to partner with America's SBDC New Jersey. Assemblywoman Mila M. Jasey (District 27) presented an Assembly Resolution acknowledging the importance of SBDC services being offered through the on-campus affiliate office. These services include providing comprehensive assistance, customized one-on-one counseling and training seminars for students as well as Essex County entrepreneurs and small business owners.
Stillman School Dean Joyce Strawser explained the significance of this development in terms of best practices and collaboration.
"We are doing something that's going to help our community and connect the Stillman School to entrepreneurs and small businesses. At the same time, this provides great learning experiences and exposure for our students. Consistent with our mission of transforming concepts into practice, our students are going to see firsthand the issues and challenges that small business and entrepreneurs face today and the measures they can take to overcome those," said Strawser.
From right, Assemblywoman Mila M. Jasey (District 27) presented an Assembly Resolution commemorating the occasion.
She added, "This affiliation really capitalizes on the strong programs that we have in entrepreneurship, including Pirates Pitch and High School Pirates Pitch competitions, and our new concentration in entrepreneurship. The affiliate office also may be very helpful to our faculty who conduct research in the area of entrepreneurship. This connection with small business and entrepreneurship may provide another source of access to data and real life situations from which they can learn. The SBDC office will be a catalyst for more good work in entrepreneurship for the Stillman community."
Two Seton Hall alumni worked closely with the University officials and America's SBDC New Jersey to make this initiative a reality. Michael E. Barna '83, a financial advisor for Merrill Lynch Wealth Management, and Steven Gomez, MBA 09/MADIR 09, executive director of Greater Newark Enterprises Corporation, enthusiastically helped move the concept to reality and were on hand for the ribbon-cutting ceremony.
Michael Barna shared, "This is a wonderful event, bringing together the academic institution of Seton Hall with the Small Business Development Center for the betterment of the community to encourage and promote small business within the area and also to provide a learning tool for students as they embark on a business career."
From left, Stillman School Associate Dean Steven Lorenzet, Alumnus Steven Gomez, Stillman School Dean Joyce Strawser, Stillman School Associate Dean Leigh Onimus, Stillman School Assistant Dean Mark Schild and Alumnus Michael Barna.
Barna explained that the effort came together because of a talented group of people who were able to think outside the box, looking forward to what could be accomplished.
"This is about making an impact at the University and within the community and providing greater exposure for students to better understand how to integrate work with the small business community and also to better the economy of New Jersey," he said.
Completing two graduate degrees - an M.B.A. in International Business/Finance and a Master of Arts in Diplomacy and International Relations in Economic Development – as well as having a father who worked at the University was fundamental to understanding the Seton Hall culture and the value of all it represents for Steven Gomez.
"I think this public-private partnership is a significant step in raising awareness about the magic that is happening here at Seton Hall. How can we help support the amazing programs that are happening? I chair the advisory board for the Market Research Center. We want a pipeline of businesses to be able come in and do that. We want them nearby so they can contribute and provide internship opportunities and potential job placements for students. Maybe the businesses will participate in continuing education for themselves and their staff. So there's this ecosystem that we want to see, how we can leverage Seton Hall's strengths," said Gomez.
For more information or to request consulting services, please visit www.njsbdc.com.