Planting “SEEDs” of Small Business Growth

Since 1984, the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) in the University at Albany’s School of Business has mentored more than 20,000 entrepreneurs, helping them access more than $320.8 million in local economic investment, and creating nearly 11,000 jobs in Albany’s Capital Region.

Patricia Greenwood

SEED participant Patricia Greenwood

In 2011, the SBDC collaborated with faculty and students from the schools of Business and Social Welfare, as well as with area business organizations, SEFCU, and Empire State Development (ESD), to create the Small Enterprise Economic Development (SEED) program, the Capital Region’s first character-based microloan initiative.

With a $2.5 million revolving loan fund established by SEFCU and nearly $200,000 in support from ESD, SEED has awarded 28 loans totaling $995,000, and helped create and/or save 112 regional jobs. New firms have taken root at a more rapid rate than with conventional entrepreneurial assistance programs because the project targets passionate entrepreneurs who cannot secure loans based on standard financial criteria.

The program provides these individuals with technical assistance, training, mentoring, and peer support to start and/or expand their companies. Since SEED’s inception, 37 entrepreneurs have completed the program and increased their knowledge of small business ownership, development of business models, and the benefits of social support.