As a client of the Penn State Small Business Development Center, you have the right to expect the following out of your consulting engagement.
Consulting Assistance Provided at No Charge
Because the SBDC program is supported by funding from the U.S. Small Business Administration, the Pennsylvania Department of Community Economic Development, Penn State, and other funders, consulting is provided at no charge to you. Fees may apply for training programs, specialized services, materials, and publications. You will be notified of any fees in advance.
Confidentiality of Information Provided
All SBDC representatives agree to abide by the Pennsylvania SBDC’s Standards of Professional Ethics and Conflict of Interest Policy. Information you provide will be held in strictest confidence and will not be released to any parties outside of the Pennsylvania SBDC network without your consent. No information you provide will be used to the commercial advantage of any SBDC representative or to the advantage of a third party.
- Exceptions –
- Information about the SBDC’s service delivery is reported in aggregate to its funders and the general public. Specific information about you will not be released without your consent.
- The SBDC will collect and report in aggregate to its funders and the general public information on you such as demographic statistics; size, location, age and industry of your business; the general nature of your engagement with the SBDC; and impact statistics such as financing obtained, sales increased, or jobs created.
- If you were referred to the SBDC, the SBDC will notify the referrer that you have sought assistance from the SBDC. The SBDC, however, will not disclose in detail the nature of the assistance you are requesting unless you provide consent to do so.
- Information will be shared with the Pennsylvania Partnerships for Regional Economic Performance only if you consent.
- Exceptions –
Penn State SBDC representatives will not knowingly recommend the purchase of goods or services from any individual or firm with which any SBDC representative has a financial, familial, or personal interest.
Non-Disclosure of Trade Secrets
Sensitive trade secrets about unique facts of your business will not be used to benefit another client of the SBDC or any SBDC representative. You understand that sensitive trade secret information is information which is not obvious, which is unknown, or which is unique and pertains to new inventions, secret manufacturing and processing procedures or formulas, or any new innovative process. You understand that it is your responsibility to inform the SBDC of any such sensitive trade secrets both verbally and in writing.
Assistance, Guidance, and Education
The SBDC program is an educational program. The SBDC will work with you on your specific issues to help build your management skills and knowledge. It is your responsibility to accept and implement recommendations. The SBDC will not negotiate on your behalf, write your business plan, or act as an employee of your business.
SBDC services are not available to individuals or entities that have been debarred or suspended by the federal government. By agreeing to receive assistance from the SBDC you are self-certifying that you are not currently federally debarred or suspended and agree to cease using SBDC services if you become federally debarred or suspended in the future.
Participating in Surveys
Because this program cares about the quality of services provided, and because it is primarily funded with public support, the SBDC undertakes a number of initiatives to ascertain the quality and impact of services provided to you. Your candid feedback is critical to the long-term success of the Penn State SBDC. You will be asked to participate in an annual client questionnaire sent at/near the end of the calendar year. Your consultant will provide you with a link upon request.
Informing Legislators About Your Experience with the Penn State SBDC
Consulting services are provided at no charge to you because of the financial support of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), the Pennsylvania Department of Community & Economic Development (DCED), host institutions and other funders. To ensure the SBDC program will be able to sustain its program into the future, we ask that you to write to your legislators to let them know about your experience with the program. To find your legislator, visit the Pennsylvania General Assembly and enter your business address. Be sure to ask the Penn State SBDC for a copy of a support letter template and provide a copy to the Center.
Accepting Responsibility and Waiving all Claims
In recognition that you are ultimately responsible for the success or failure of your business and that all decisions pertaining to implementing plans and operating your business are solely your responsibility, you hereby waive any claims of damages against the Penn State SBDC, the Pennsylvania SBDC program, any universities hosting a Pennsylvania SBDC program, the Pennsylvania State University, the U.S. Small Business Administration, and the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development, or any other entity that provides funding to the Pennsylvania SBDC program, based on any advice or information provided by the SBDC.
You will be asked for permission to release your name, contact information, company name, business type/NAICS code, demographic information (minority, woman and/or veteran owned status), company start date, tenure of company owner, and type of assistance provided to the Pennsylvania DCED, member organizations in the PREP program and other authorized users of the Executive Pulse database. This release is optional.
The Penn State SBDC program is supported with funding from the U.S. Small Business Administration, the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development, and Penn State University. SBDC services are not available to individuals or entities that have been debarred or suspended by the federal government. By agreeing to receive assistance from the SBDC you are self-certifying that you are not currently federally debarred or suspended and also agree to cease using SBDC services if you become federally debarred or suspended in the future.