The National Steering Committee (NSC) of Small Business Environmental Assistance Programs (SBEAPs) & Small Business Ombudsmen (SBO) have selected the Environmental Management Assistance Program (EMAP) of Widener University with the 2022 Small Business Environmental Assistance Program Excellence Award. This award category recognizes exemplary performance of a state SBEAP in the areas of compliance assistance, sustainability, advocacy, and collaboration at the national level. The SBEAP Excellence Award emphasizes program leadership where they have created resources and work products, promoted policy advancements, developed program innovations, and established new partnerships to build a strong network of small business assistance.
Since 1997, EMAP has provided free and confidential environmental technical assistance to the small business community in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Headquartered at Widener University in the School of Business Administration on Widener’s main campus located in Chester, Pennsylvania, EMAP services are available throughout the entire network of the Pennsylvania Small Business Development Centers (SBDC) to any Pennsylvania small business seeking assistance with issues of air quality and environmental compliance.
The EMAP team, which includes Lee Ann Briggs, Jeremy Hancher, Charles Haney, and Carrie Wintersteen, was chosen by the SBEAP/SBO for their involvement and leadership with the National Steering Committee, the Technical and Annual Training Subcommittees, and the Environmental Justice Workgroup. In addition, EMAP was recognized for performing small business analyses on several Pennsylvania air quality rulemakings, for collaborating with the SBDCs and the Pennsylvania DEP Small Business Ombudsman to conduct in-person workshops and virtual webinars on environmental resources, and in partnering with other Pennsylvania stakeholder organizations and trade associations.
Since 2018, EMAP Program Manager Jeremy Hancher has served as an appointee from Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf on the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection’s (DEP) Small Business Compliance Advisory Committee (SBCAC). This committee provides timely feedback on Pennsylvania air quality regulations and proposed rulemakings, environmental policies and programs, and represents the perspectives and challenges faced by Pennsylvania small businesses.
Dale Kaplan, owner of Kaplan’s Careful Cleaners and long-time Chair of the SBCAC, commented on EMAP services and having received the award by saying, “I have been with the DEP Small Business Compliance Advisory Committee for 26 years and EMAP has stepped up to the plate, the whole team, along with the 16 SBDC universities across the state and have served small businesses in a way that is really phenomenal. You deserve what you are getting, thank you.”
Several EMAP small business clients have received National SBEAP small business awards of their own including Pennsylvania small businesses Abilene Boot Company in 2022, Dent Design Hardware in 2021, Gate 7 LLC in 2020, and Pik Rite, Inc. in 2017. During the COVID-19 pandemic, EMAP continued to be a reliable and steady presence to Pennsylvania small businesses needing environmental assistance and support. EMAP even pivoted during the early stages of COVID to utilize its connections within the Pennsylvania SBDC to provide firsthand knowledge of economic opportunities so that small businesses could access small business grants and low-interest loans related to COVID related shutdown orders.
Always looking to better assist Pennsylvania small businesses in any way they can, the EMAP team recently surveyed their small business clients that received technical assistance in 2021. One small business noted the following in the survey:
“I’ve worked with EMAP for many years. The services they provide to small businesses are exceptional. I have and will continue to work with and support EMAP and continue to recommend and refer them to others as well.”