Sonya Smith to Lead the State University of New York’s Small Business Development Center Network

Sonya Smith was named the SUNY State Director of the New York Small Business Development Centers (SBDC). She is the first woman and first African American appointed to lead New York’s vast SBDC network in its nearly 40-year history.

The State University of New York’s network of 22 regional SBDCs represents an integral part of the state’s entrepreneurship and economic agenda. SBDCs played a critical role in the state’s pandemic response, helping nearly 5,500 COVID-19 impacted businesses secure more than $600 million in federal funding to date, and helping thousands more navigate ways to operate remotely. This work helped preserve over 28,000 jobs and created 2,500 new ones over the past year alone.

“Entrepreneurs and small business owners are the backbone of our economic well-being,” Smith said. “COVID-19 fundamentally changed the needs of these individuals and altered how SBDCs support, communicate, and deliver services and programs they need to succeed. New York’s SBDC is a nation-leading program, and its partnership with the SUNY system provides huge potential for entrepreneurs across the state. I look forward to working with SUNY and our state and federal partners to continue growing New York SBDC’s reach to support these entrepreneurs and small business owners.”

Smith most recently served as associate state director of SBDC programs in Pennsylvania, managing the design and implementation of services provided by 16 regional centers to support Pennsylvania entrepreneurs and small businesses. Prior to this, Smith served as the assistant director of grants and sponsored projects at Kutztown University in Pennsylvania.

Smith is a graduate of Albright College in Reading, Pennsylvania, where she majored in accounting. She earned an MBA at Kutztown University.

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