The SUNY Oswego Small Business Development Center, as part of the Watertown regional center, received a national award from the U.S. Small Business Administration in 2010 — the Service Excellence and Innovation Award.
Competition for the award is intense, with 953 regional small business development centers in the country.
“They’ve been thinking outside the box with the types of programs and online training,” said Bernard J. Paprocki, director of the SBA's 34-county Syracuse District Office.
Like their colleagues headquartered at Jefferson Community College in Watertown, Larry Perras and John Halleron in Oswego advise hundreds of entrepreneurs a year aiming to start, expand or keep small businesses. The Oswego team works closely with small-business owners and banks in Oswego County. The center’s range of free services includes counseling, assistance with preparation of and changes to business plans, micro-enterprise courses and workshops, and collecting data to help businesses make informed decisions.
Interns from the School of Business play a key role in research and other parts of the office's business-development projects. “Students learn the individual working parts of business development in each of their classes, but here they get to see how it all comes together,” Perras said.
In the decade the Oswego unit of the regional center has been open, Perras and Halleron calculate the office has created or saved 1,584 jobs and helped business people find $59.1 million in funding.
Video: Oswego’s small-business advisers talk about their award-winning approach.