Posted March 18, 2019

Small Business Development Center opening at Temple Ambler

The Ambler outpost of the Fox School of Business’ center will primarily service businesses owned by military veterans.

Temple Ambler Campus
Photography By: 
Ryan S. Brandenberg
The Temple Ambler outpost of the Small Business Development Center will focus on providing support for entrepreneurs who are military veterans.

Every business, large and small, has to start from the ground up—a novel approach, a new idea, a niche left unfulfilled. 

Temple University is giving entrepreneurs—military veterans in particular—a new place and an essential partner to help their business concepts become reality. On March 20 at 3 p.m., Temple’s Small Business Development Center (SBDC) will cut the ribbon on a new office located in the Ambler Campus Library Building. 

“We want to be able to conveniently provide our services to individuals in Montgomery and Bucks counties. We also have an opportunity to focus on other business industries, such as manufacturing,” said Small Business Development Center Director Maura Shenker. “We have the opportunity to offer our non-credit programs at the Ambler Campus, to host business symposia in the Learning Center auditorium, and try new ideas such as a veterans’ cohort of our business incubator.”

The SBDC, an outreach center of the Fox School of Business and Management, has been working to help fledgling businesses bridge the gap between concepts and customers since 1983.

“Our mission is to support entrepreneurs and small business owners by providing the knowledge they need to make smart decisions and achieve prosperity,” Shenker said. “Our consultants work with entrepreneurs in one-to-one sessions to help them with a range of business issues including testing a new business proposition, shaping a business plan and investigating funding opportunities.”

In addition to the wealth of consultancy services the SBDC provides, the Temple Ambler office will offer a business incubator specifically designed for military veteran business owners that will serve eight to 12 businesses.

“We will be working with veterans to take them through the entire business development process, from pre-venture to starting a business to building revenue,” Shenker said. “It is about a nine-month process that we will begin in May.” 

The incubator, Shenker said, provides start-up businesses that don’t yet have a home of their own with shared office services.

“It provides them with ready access to computers, phones, space to meet clients while also giving them easy access to consultants and SBDC services,” she said. “It gives them a place where they can really get their business going without feeling like they have to go it alone.”

Shenker said the SBDC has been working closely with Dennis Miller, executive principal of Wheel Dog Industries, a public policy consulting firm specializing in veteran and military affairs, to develop the veterans’ cohort. Miller, a United States Marine Corps veteran, will be among the speakers at the March 20 grand opening in addition to the Montgomery County Commissioners. The SBDC is also coordinating their efforts with Temple’s Military and Veterans Service Center. 

“The Small Business Development Center is a perfect partnership for the Ambler Campus and the surrounding community,” said Vicki Lewis McGarvey, vice provost for University College and interim director of Temple University Ambler. “Having a business incubator on a college campus where military veteran entrepreneurs can access an incredible wealth of resources simply makes sense. We’re very excited to partner with the Small Business Development Center to provide specialized support for start-ups in the region.”

Shenker said the Ambler Campus provides the SBDC room to grow.

“We’ll be hosting meetings every month on campus with groups designed to support local businesses, such as the Small Business Administration and the Montgomery County Commerce Department,” she said. “We’re also hoping to host a manufacturing CEO roundtable.”

The SBDC is additionally planning to offer a 10-week “entrepreneurial success” non-credit program at Temple Ambler in spring 2019.

“SBDC offers a variety of educational events and programs. The entrepreneurial success program focuses on getting a business up and running, soup to nuts,” Shenker said. “Toward the end, we bring in funders to meet with our participants to give them a chance to make crucial connections.”

Learn more about the Small Business Development Center in Temple’s Fox School of Business.

—James Duffy