Wilkes-Barre Connect a ‘net’ gain for business community

By Bill O’Boyle - [email protected] | October 31st, 2017 11:36 am - updated: 11:43 am.

WILKES-BARRE

CONNECT PROGRAMS

Intern: Connects businesses with students through an interactive website at wilkesbarreconnect.org. Wilkes-Barre Connect helps to make direct connections between the businesses and each academic institution to successfully fulfill opportunities that arise.

101: Focuses on videos from industry leaders that provide entrepreneurs, start-ups and existing companies with instruction in small-business fundamentals. The video series, which will be on the Wilkes-Barre Connect website at www.wilkesbarreconnect.org, will be about topics from the first steps of business to social media, insurance, human resources, accounting, bookkeeping and marketing.

Pitch: Sponsored by the Willary Foundation, the program hosts events on a quarterly basis at the THINK Center in the Innovation Center on Public Square to introduce entrepreneurs, start-ups and existing businesses to regional investors.

Spotlight: Sponsored by Penn State Wilkes-Barre, the program holds quarterly networking events for students, industry leaders and entrepreneurs in Northeastern Pennsylvania to meet, discuss and identify partnerships.

Honor: Led by personnel at the Allan P. Kirby Center at Wilkes University, the program provides training and seminars for veterans and veteran spouses to allow them to access the resources they need to grow a business.

WILKES-BARRE — If you’re looking to create and retain jobs for your business and you need support services to reach those goals, Wilkes-Barre Connect is ready to help.

The organization was created in early 2016 by the Greater Wilkes-Barre Chamber of Commerce to encourage and foster new entrepreneurship and small-business growth in the area.

Holly Pilcavage, Wilkes-Barre Connect’s manager, said at its core, the organization acts as a catalyst for business development.

“This initiative is free to businesses within the area,” Pilcavage said. “It works to create and retain jobs while providing support services in conjunction with its partners to help establish and grow businesses within the area.”

Pilcavage said Wilkes-Barre Connect offers support services from mentoring and networking to technical assistance and access to capital and facilities.

Larry Newman, executive director of the Diamond City Partnership, Wilkes-Barre’s downtown management organization, said Wilkes-Barre Connect is intended to do “two big things” — coordinate the work of multiple service providers who might assist local entrepreneurs as those entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses; and develop new programs that help increase the number of entrepreneurs in the Greater Wilkes-Barre community.

Pilcavage said the collaboration among businesses, local academic institutions and organizations such as Wilkes-Barre Connect is crucial to the success and forward movement of the overall program. She said Wilkes-Barre Connect guides and supports individuals from the outset to establishing a strategy to making referrals while performing touch points in between.

“Wilkes-Barre Connect acts as a ‘net’ — if you will — ensuring that no one slips through the cracks and gets the support they need,” Pilcavage said.

Led by the Greater Wilkes-Barre Chamber of Commerce, Wilkes-Barre Connect also involves participants the Allan P. Kirby Center for Free Enterprise and Entrepreneurship at Wilkes University; Ben Franklin Technology Partners; Diamond City Partnership; Institute for Public Policy and Economic Development; Wilkes University Family Business Alliance; and the Wilkes University Small Business Development Center.

Newman said there are a variety of programs and five areas of focus — entrepreneurs, veterans, interns, finance and education — under the Wilkes-Barre Connect umbrella, which are intended to advance those areas.

Pilcavage said the Wilkes-Barre Connect team aligns you and your business with appropriate providers, services and locations to meet the goals and objectives defined within your strategy.

Joseph A. Boylan, an economic development consultant at the Greater Wilkes-Barre Chamber, said Wilkes-Barre Connect was built to not only help entrepreneurs, start-ups and small businesses gain access to needed resources in Northeastern Pennsylvania, but as an effective tool to retain, expand and attract large companies to the region.

“A quality and available workforce continues to be the Number 1 topic that national and international site selectors seek when delivering the right locations for their clients,” Boylan said. “By partnering with our K-12, higher-education institutions and business-service providers, WB Connect provides a more streamlined and effective system to meet all needs.”

As examples, Boylan cited business plan assistance, the understanding of markets, product development, research and development, and “the right mix of internship and mentorship programs.”

Boylan said Wilkes-Barre Connect is “now our answer to meet the workforce needs of companies and remain competitive on the East Coast, in addition to showing our commitment locally to supporting the growth and development of businesses.”

Holly Pilcavage, manager of Wilkes-Barre Connect, says the organization’s services are free to businesses in the Wilkes-Barre area. (Sean McKeag | Times Leader)
http://www.timesleader.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/web1_TTL101416Forbes302-2.jpgHolly Pilcavage, manager of Wilkes-Barre Connect, says the organization’s services are free to businesses in the Wilkes-Barre area. (Sean McKeag | Times Leader)
Newman
http://www.timesleader.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/web1_newman1-2.jpgNewman
Boylan
http://www.timesleader.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/web1_boylan-2.jpgBoylan
Holly Pilcavage gives tips at a small-business lecture called ‘Coffee & Confidence’ in the University of Scranton’s Brennan Hall last Tuesday. Pilcavage is the manager of Wilkes-Barre Connect, which was created early last year. (Sean McKeag | Times Leader)
http://www.timesleader.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/web1_TTL103017WBConnect1-2.jpgHolly Pilcavage gives tips at a small-business lecture called ‘Coffee & Confidence’ in the University of Scranton’s Brennan Hall last Tuesday. Pilcavage is the manager of Wilkes-Barre Connect, which was created early last year. (Sean McKeag | Times Leader)

By Bill O’Boyle

[email protected]

WILKES-BARRE

CONNECT PROGRAMS

Intern: Connects businesses with students through an interactive website at wilkesbarreconnect.org. Wilkes-Barre Connect helps to make direct connections between the businesses and each academic institution to successfully fulfill opportunities that arise.

101: Focuses on videos from industry leaders that provide entrepreneurs, start-ups and existing companies with instruction in small-business fundamentals. The video series, which will be on the Wilkes-Barre Connect website at www.wilkesbarreconnect.org, will be about topics from the first steps of business to social media, insurance, human resources, accounting, bookkeeping and marketing.

Pitch: Sponsored by the Willary Foundation, the program hosts events on a quarterly basis at the THINK Center in the Innovation Center on Public Square to introduce entrepreneurs, start-ups and existing businesses to regional investors.

Spotlight: Sponsored by Penn State Wilkes-Barre, the program holds quarterly networking events for students, industry leaders and entrepreneurs in Northeastern Pennsylvania to meet, discuss and identify partnerships.

Honor: Led by personnel at the Allan P. Kirby Center at Wilkes University, the program provides training and seminars for veterans and veteran spouses to allow them to access the resources they need to grow a business.

Reach Bill O’Boyle at 570-991-6118 or on Twitter @TLBillOBoyle\.


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