Founded in 1980, the Wharton Small Business Development Center (WSBDC) is currently part of the Snider Research Center and Wharton Entrepreneurship—widely acknowledged as one of the most influential entrepreneurial centers in a business school. The Wharton SBDC’s mission is to help small entrepreneurial businesses in the Greater Philadelphia region start, grow and prosper, and to enhance the education of Wharton students.
The WSBDC’s unique and highly effective service delivery model leverages the students, faculty and staff of the Wharton School, as well as partnerships with experienced professionals and leading outside organizations. The WSBDC serves more than 600 businesses with individualized consulting. These programs serve the dual function of helping entrepreneurs start and grow their companies, while offering more than 300 students each year the opportunity to apply their academic coursework across such fields as finance, management, international and global studies, health care, life sciences and marketing to real-world entrepreneurial practice.
The Wharton SBDC has three principal programs which serve most small businesses and students:
Through the Business Building Program, each year a team of MBA candidates and experienced professionals develop a customized program for each of approximately 500 entrepreneurs who are starting or growing a business. Anchoring on their business goals, entrepreneurs take advantage of workshops and individual consultations to achieve their near-term business goals, such as writing a business plan, financing a business, developing a cash flow-based plan to grow their business or developing a marketing plan based on discovering their customers’ real willingness to purchase.
Through the Growth Consulting Program, approximately 60 undergraduate and MBA students, following a competitive application process, work with more than 65 client businesses to help CEOs overcome strategic challenges and propel their companies’ growth. In exchange, the “student consultants” gain valuable experience and refine their analytical and leadership skills. The Growth Consulting Practice is led by the Wharton SBDC’s experienced professional staff with the support of Wharton faculty, senior advisors, Client Services staff, and Partners.
Through SBDC-Developed Projects for Wharton Courses, the WSBDC leverages its deep relationships with regional CEOs to structure more than 35 projects each year for courses across the School, including Leadership and Teamwork and Consulting to High-Growth Companies. Through these projects, Wharton faculty and teaching assistants guide teams of Wharton students in highly structured projects defined by their course objectives and designed to benefit local small businesses.
The Wharton SBDC’s core programs are supported by the U.S. Small Business Administration and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development as well as The Wharton School. We are especially proud to have financial and in-kind support from our Partners:
The Wharton SBDC is proud to be a part of Southeast PREP, a collaborative network of business development organizations with a goal of providing businesses in southeastern Pennsylvania with a wide array of assistance.