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From the Dean’s Office

Bob Wood
Bob Wood

Two of the major outreach efforts in the Perdue School are BEACON (the Business, Economic and Community Outreach Network) and the SBTDC (Small Business and Technology Development Center). Dr. Memo Diriker directs BEACON operations and John Hickman serves as director of the SBTDC. In addition to outreach, both of the areas provide learning opportunities for both faculty and students.

BEACON clients come from the private, nonprofit and government sectors throughout the State of Maryland. More recently, BEACON’s projects have involved entities in other states and territories (New York, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Virginia and the U.S. Virgin Islands) and overseas clients (Belgium, Denmark, France, Thailand, Turkey and the United Kingdom).

BEACON is also host to several other external initiatives. These include Shore TRENDS (tracking regional business and economic trends), GraySHORE (a focus on organizations that serve the aging population of our region), Bienvenidos a Delmarva (focused on organizations that serve the growing non-native born residents of the Delmarva Peninsula), ShoreENERGY (exploring energy needs and solutions on the Eastern Shore), Explore the Shore (for tourism research effort) and ShoRE (a regional real estate research initiative). BEACON is also the founding partner of GeoDASH (the development of map based BI/Data Visualization solutions) and GNAppWorks (development of mobile apps for government and nonprofit agencies).

In a typical year, BEACON completes 20 to 30 projects while also hosting 15 to 20 events. Since the founding of BEACON 25 years ago, student teams have completed over $10 million in externally funded projects. In addition to the experience, all BEACON students are compensated for their work and, in the case of graduate students, receive tuition reimbursement.

The SBTDC is part of a national and statewide network that assists entrepreneurs in all stages of their business. The center at Salisbury University serves the eight counties of Maryland’s Eastern Shore with offices at the Perdue School, Chesapeake College, Cambridge and Berlin.

Businesses are assisted through confidential individual consulting, targeted research and low-cost training. The SBTDC often serves as a portal for small businesses to learn more about SU services, including finding interns and employees from SU students and graduates as well as connecting with professionals that can provide assistance in a number of areas. Each year, the SBTDC coordinates student projects in the Small Business Consulting class. This class gives business students experiential learning opportunities and provides a fresh look at solutions to businesses by completing projects for eight to ten local firms each year.

In 2013, the SBTDC at the Perdue School worked with over 390 clients helping current and aspiring entrepreneurs start and grow their enterprises. The assistance allowed these clients to raise over $6.8 million in loans and equity, create and retain over 125 jobs, and start 16 new businesses. The center also delivered 95 training sessions that were attended by over 1,000 entrepreneurs. In the aftermath of Super Storm Sandy, the center also worked with firms to provide training specifically targeting commercial fisheries and fishing charter businesses.

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