Pennsylvania's 18 Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs) have a stunning record when it comes to nurturing new businesses. The start-up companies that they coach have a five-year survival rate of 75 to 80 percent.

That's double the typical success rate, according to Therese Flaherty, director of the Wharton SBDC. "We help people kind of avoid the mistakes," she says. "Or if they've made some, we help them fix them."

The SBDCs- there are three in the area-are funded by the federal Small Business Administration and state Department of Community and Economic Development.

- Becky Batcha

Temple University Fox School of Business SBDC
1510 Cecil B. Moore Ave.

University of Pennsylvania Wharton SBDC
3733 Spruce St.
112 Vance Hall

Widener University SBDC
1350 Edgemont Ave.
Suite 1300
Chester, Pa.