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From “This Old House” to ‘Desert Wind’ Air Dynamics leads the pack with Innovation and Technology

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As a U.S. Air Force veteran, Daniel Lehman never imagined how Bob Vila would be the inspiration for a business endeavor. Inspired after watching an episode of “This Old House” Lehman installed a centralized home-vacuum system into his own home, which led him to take that project and turn it into…

Therm-Omega-Tech: A Company on the Move

Therm-Omega-Tech, is a world leader in the design and manufacture of products using proprietary self-actuating temperature control valves.  Founded in 1983 the first product was a valve that uses thermal actuator technology to provide reliable and cost effective freeze protection to the railroad industry. The company returned to its beginnings…

Growing Solutions with Phospholutions

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Hunter Swisher founded Phospholutions in the spring of 2016 while still a student majoring in plant science at Penn State. In the fall of 2015 while taking a class, he learned about a soil additive that would help plants soak up nutrients more efficiently. This technology, developed by his professor, was…

The Chocolate Clinic

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Kym Silvasy-Neale had always wanted to be an entrepreneur. In fact, she believes that there is a budding entrepreneur in everyone. Her love of chocolate – not just any chocolate, but really good chocolate, the kind that delights and satisfies – led her to launch The Chocolate Clinic. She began blogging about chocolate and found that there was an unmet need in Philadelphia, that those seeking really good chocolate had to order online, un-tasted, or travel to New York. That was about to change.

Seeking some help into turning her idea into reality, Silvasy-Neale found the Wharton Small Business Development Center (SBDC) Business Building Program for early stage entrepreneurs. Realizing that she now had the structure and support to plan for her business, she enrolled in the entire workshop series starting with the First Step, and culminating in writing her business plan in the five-part workshop, Strategic Business Planning. Silvasy-Neale says the workshops helped her overcome her fears that she could not successfully start the business because of the high rate of failures among startup business. She says, “hearing the realities of why people fail – not being able to pivot, no market research” convinced her that she could be different. Silvasy-Neale also credits Wharton SBDC instructor with always playing the devil’s advocate, challenging her on her assumptions, pushing her to overcome obstacles to prove her idea. Silvasy-Neale also says that the support and encouragement of the whole Wharton SBDC team and the other entrepreneurs in the program is key to success. She and the other entrepreneurs from the workshops keep in touch and continue to learn from each other. Kym says “Encouragement really matters” for entrepreneurs “as they go through the steps rethinking and testing what you thought.”

In May 2013, Silvasy-Neale launched her website, www.thechocolateclinic.com, as the first stage of her business where customers can learn about chocolate and purchase selected products, as the first stage of her business. In the near future, hopefully in time for the holiday shopping rush, she plans to establish a retail shop in Center City Philadelphia, which would include a chocolate tasting bar as well as a coffee shop. As a purveyor of artisan chocolates, Silvasy-Neale also seeks to educate her customers about the history and science of chocolate making, as well as create a decadent experience using this affordable luxury. While Silvasy-Neale’s flexible full time job allows her time to build The Chocolate Clinic, like many startup entrepreneurs, finding funding is challenge. Silvasy-Neale views this as another obstacle that requires a creative solution and is taking her time to plan and look toward alternative financing, such as crowd-funding and microloans. Since her launch, Silvasy-Neale has also partnered with other businesses in the area, including breweries and cafes, in several successful events to introduce her business and gain clientele.

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