Financial Services Advocate 2 Featured

9:57am EDT July 22, 2002

As the director of the Clarion University Small Business Development Center, responsible for an 11-county region in northwestern and north central Pennsylvania, Wood Yeaney faced a formidable task reaching constituents.

Realizing that business development is critical in a region where unemployment has at times pushed past 10 percent, Yeaney established a bank outreach program that gathers referrals from 42 bank branches throughout the SBDC’s service area.

The SBDC’s efforts have been successful enough to help generate $32 million in loans to businesses over the past four years.

“We’ve been very successful in helping small businesses get to the point where we can help to inject some financial support,” says Yeaney.

Yeaney’s staff of six works with each business owner to put together a business plan, market analysis and financial feasibility study and uses the information to assemble a loan package for the entrepreneur.

The bank outreach program works exceptionally well, says Yeaney, because his SBDC doesn’t have to maintain branch offices. Some of the bank branches, says Yeaney, advertise that they are an outreach center, which serves to increase the number of referrals to the SBDC.