Consulting Services -- SBDC

The Bucknell University Small Business Development Center houses the PASBDC's Engineering Development Services. The EDS can provide assistance on various types of projects including product design, prototype development, product testing, feasibility analysis, or process improvements. The EDS can also assist in searching through patent databases to determine the patentability of a product or design.


Telephone, Elevator, Photocopier, Air Conditioner, Light Bulb, Airplane.

These, among many other products that we rely upon and use everyday, were created by small firms. New technologies developed by small businesses result in increased efficiency, productivity and sales, new companies, and sometimes whole new markets. Throughout the economy, small firms create more innovations per employee than large firms do.

To assist the Commonwealth's inventors and small firms in transforming their ideas into products, the Pennsylvania Small Business Development Centers offer an Engineering Development Services operated by the Bucknell University SBDC.

The Bucknell University SBDC, as the only SBDC in the nation housed in an engineering school, combines traditional SBDC management services with the resources, expertise, and research and development opportunities of a top-notch engineering department. Engineering Development Services' facilities include a fully equipped machine shop, computer aided drafting and machining equipment, and state-of-the-art laboratories. For those clients who are interested in patenting their new product, the EDS offers preliminary patent searching and general guidance in the patent process.

In addition to assisting in the creation of new products, Engineering Development Services is a resource for firms looking to export their existing products. Other nations have different standards for products and Engineering Development Services can help a firm customize products to meet those standards. This offers the Commonwealth's small firms a competitive edge in the global marketplace. 

Engineering Development Services is available to small businesses throughout the Commonwealth.


Starting Out

If you need product development assistance, your local Small Business Development Center will guide you in business plan preparation and assess the market for your product idea. Once you determine that your product has market potential, your consultant will refer you to Engineering Development Services at the Bucknell University SBDC. You will then receive assistance in product design and re-design, prototype construction, and product testing, following the Flexi-Trac Client Mapping (TM) system.

Engineering Development Services manager, a mechanical engineer, guides each project with support from engineering faculty, students, technicians, and outside consultants. Facilities include a fully equipped machine shop, computer aided drafting and machining equipment, and state-of-the-art laboratory facilities. Those planning to patent their new products can receive assistance with a preliminary patent search through the Small Business Development Center.

Getting to Market

When the development phase is complete, Engineering Development Services staff can help you identify vendors to manufacture your design. Consultants at your local SBDC will then assist you with loan proposals, marketing, advertising, and any other help you need to bring your product to market.

Some of the Bucknell Engineering Development Services' recent product development projects include:

  • Material handling improvements for a local manufacturer
  • Strength testing of a sidewalk grate
  • Design of a new weight lifting apparatus
  • Performance testing of motor oil additive
  • Redesign of a concrete strength tester
  • Design of a vegetable harvester

Individuals or small businesses in Pennsylvania seeking product development help are invited to contact their local SBDC for more information.

All services and programs are provided on a non-discriminatory basis.

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