News

DelVal opens a new Small Business and Entrepreneurship Center

Mar 02, 2017

sbec ribbon cutting

Credit: Delaware Valley University. Delaware Valley University and New Britain Borough opened the Small Business and Entrepreneurship Center on Thursday, March 2. From left: Co-Chair of DelVal's Department of Business and Information Management Bill Viel, Interim Dean of the School of Business and Humanities Dr. Tanya Casas, Mayor of New Britain Borough David Holewinski, DelVal President Dr. Maria Gallo, Director of Economic Development for New Britain Borough Stephen Barth and Former Congressman Mike Fitzpatrick. 

Some huge companies have started in dorm rooms, living rooms and garages with just an idea and a few determined people. Delaware Valley University is working to make sure more great ideas turn into successful businesses. 

DelVal, in cooperation with New Britain Borough, opened the doors to a new Small Business and Entrepreneurship Center (SBEC) on Thursday, March 2. The Center honors DelVal’s founding tradition of “integrating theory with practice."

“This space will be a catalyst to spur and inspire the creation of new startup companies within our community, create new jobs, and seed innovative technologies for the future,” said Stephen Barth, director of economic development for New Britain Borough.

The SBEC is located on Keeley Avenue in New Britain, Pennsylvania, thanks to a generous donation from the Borough. It will be staffed and operated by the University and will focus on growing existing small businesses and launching startups. The SBEC building has enough workspace to accommodate four to five individual entrepreneurs. Workstations will rent for just $25 a month. Businesses and entrepreneurs do not need to be from Bucks County to apply for workspace or support. 

DelVal student interns will staff the Center and faculty and business partners will provide the education services. The Center’s faculty mentors have experience at the highest levels of their fields including: accounting, agribusiness, environmental science, equine science and management, finance, food science and technology, landscape architecture and design, management, marketing, media and communication, pharmaceuticals, operations, sustainable agriculture systems, turf management and more. 

Established small businesses have the option of having staff from the Center visit their locations. A local owner of a jewelry store has already contacted the Center to request support. Andrew Belton ’18, a DelVal business student, will visit the store to teach the owner about social media marketing. 

The Center will enhance the student experience at DelVal by providing hands-on experience in business. As interns, students will see firsthand how an individual takes an idea and launches a startup.

“I hope the Center will provide practical life lessons in the various fields we prepare people for,” said Bill Viel, co-chair of the Department of Business and Information Management at DelVal. “We will accept entrepreneurial projects from students and the community that relate to the subjects taught at DelVal.”

The University hosted a kickoff celebration on campus in the Life Sciences Building on March 2, where guests were invited to learn more about the SBEC. Students, faculty, small business owners, local politicians, representatives from New Britain Borough and others attended to celebrate the opening. 

At the celebration, there were displays from small businesses such as a handcrafted tile company and a pear juice product sold by DelVal agribusiness students.

Melanie Hartsell and Thomas Eckhardt, co-owners of Jamison Lawn Care attended the kickoff event to learn more about the SBEC. They founded their company in 2015 and are looking for ways to grow it. 

The Center is just one of a number of initiatives that are underway at DelVal to develop closer ties with the surrounding communities.

“New Britain Borough, home to Delaware Valley University, is collaborating with the University to create a college town and learning community for students by providing unique opportunities within the Borough, such as the Small Business and Entrepreneurship Center,” said Barth. 

To apply for support or, to learn more about the SBEC, please visit: delval.edu/sbec.