🗣 Locals you need to know: Meet Dr. Kelly Hunt, a Washington County entrepreneur who helps local entrepreneurs

Thanks for talking to us! Tell our readers a little bit about who you are and what you do with the SBA.

I am the local county director of the U.S. Small Business Administration, or SBA, and we help entrepreneurs and experienced small business owners at all stages of growth. I am personally responsible for fulfilling our mission to assist small businesses in establishing, growing, expanding and rebuilding in 27 counties of western Pennsylvania. And they help me a lot – I work with a great team of professionals and 12 official partners for SBA resources. We all share the same goal – to continue to develop the economy through small business ownership.

How long have you lived in Pittsburgh, and what did you do before joining the SBA?

I am a native of Washington County and the daughter of an entrepreneur. In fact, my dad still owns the same garage where I helped him in his teens.

I joined the Air Force right after high school and served in the actual police service for nine years. It was at this time that I started going to college and became really interested in entrepreneurship. Soon my husband and I started our first business. You could say I never lost my entrepreneurial spirit. After a career in higher education and a detour through economic development I found my way back to Pittsburgh and the SBA.

What makes the Pittsburgh small business landscape unique?

The Pittsburgh small business landscape reflects its physical landscape and truly encompasses all sectors of the business. The city has a unique terrain that ranges from hills and valleys to promenades and plains. And our small business sector is the same, which includes everything from robotics and technology businesses to manufacturers, bustling Main Street shopping areas and unlimited small business leisure opportunities. In short, the city and its small business landscape have opportunities for everyone.

What challenges do small businesses in the Pittsburgh area face, and what solutions or bright spots balance them?

No matter where your small business is, financing and finding customers can cause problems. I can tell you first hand that Pittsburgh boasts a vibrant network of lenders, economic development agencies, nonprofits and official SBA resource partners working with the business community. They will let you know if your business opportunity is possible and whether it can bring income. We’ll help you look at various funding funds you may not have known existed, and help turn that idea into a small business. If you open a small business here, you will have an expanded team to help you at every stage.

What happens during Small Business Week and how can our readers join?

This year’s four-day celebration is virtual and informative for small business owners, whether they’re looking for critical federal resources and new business strategies, or just chatting and chatting online with industry experts and other small business owners from all over the world. countries. Country. The national event concludes on Thursday, May 5, with the announcement of the Man of the Year from Small Business, and I can proudly say that a manufacturer from western Pennsylvania is vying for the title. Interested entrepreneurs and small businesses can register at https://www.sba.gov/national-small-business-week. Another great way to celebrate Small Business Week is to make a special effort to visit your neighbors who own and run small businesses and support your business district on Main Street.

Finally, where can we meet you around town on a regular weekend?

I have a large family in the Pittsburgh area, particularly in Washington County. During my vacation you will find me with daughters and granddaughters who enjoy local activities and activities. As a business owner, I think the whole of western Pennsylvania knows that I shop at small businesses and share this positive experience with my employees and almost everyone I meet.

Are you interested in being represented and want to share your own class project in ‘Burgh? Send an email to [email protected] with the theme “Locals to know 2022” and you can see yourself in a future newsletter.

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