Orange County Bancorp, Inc. Announces Record Second Quarter Results
July 19, 2019 declared Orange Bank & Trust Company Day in Westchester County!
Middletown, NY—July 23, 2019 — Westchester County honored Orange Bank & Trust Company for its involvement in the community and unfailing support of not for profit organizations throughout Westchester, Rockland and Orange Counties by declaring July 19th as Orange Bank & Trust Company Day! The day was announced on the County Center Marquee in downtown White Plains.
Orange Bank & Trust Sponsors A Golden Woodstock Exhibit
Middletown, NY—July 12, 2019 — Fifty years ago, a generation of young people and a contingent of phenomenal musical talent gathered on Yasgur’s Farm in Bethel, NY, changing the trajectory of American culture. In celebration of what came to be called “Woodstock,” Orange Bank & Trust proudly sponsors We Are Golden: Reflections on the 50th Anniversary of The Woodstock & Aspirations for Peaceful Future at The Museum at Bethel Woods. The exhibit examines the desires of youth in 1969, the positive societal changes the festival inspired, and asks today’s youth what they are desire from the world today.
Orange Bank & Trust CEO, Michael Gilfeather says, “Woodstock was really about community–the community that gathered for the festival and the world-wide community of young people yearning for change. For over 125 years, Orange Bank & Trust has supported our regional community and contributed to positive change for individuals and business. We’re proud to partner with the Museum at Bethel Woods to present this exhibit celebrating our history and aspirations.”
We Are Golden features a large collection of Woodstock artifacts including Jack Casady of Jefferson Airplane’s bass guitar, Alan Wilson of Canned Heat’s handwritten lyrics for “Goin’ Up the Country,” sound equipment used at the festival–which set the standard of outdoor concerts, and world-class photographs from 15 of the best chroniclers of the event. The exhibit is presented in the hope that young people today will find inspiration to express and act upon what they want the world of the future to be like. Many of the current social movements have their roots in the similar aspirations of the “Woodstock Generation.”
We are Golden runs through December 30. Please check the Bethel Woods website, www.BethelWoodsCenter.org for days and hours, especially on Pavilion concert days.
Orange Bank & Trust Hires Michael Palanza as VP, Senior Trust Officer & Fiduciary Advisor
Middletown, NY – July 3, 2019 – The Board of Directors and CEO Michael Gilfeather of Orange Bank & Trust Company are pleased to announce the hiring of Vice President, Michael Palanza as Senior Trust Officer and Fiduciary Advisor. Mr. Palanza will be responsible for administering trusts, estates, and investment management accounts, as well as offering fiduciary support and expertise to clients.
Mr. Palanza comes to Orange Bank & Trust with over twenty years of experience in trust management. Most recently, Mr. Palanza worked at JP Morgan Chase Bank as an Executive Director. He has also worked as a Legal Assistant at the law firms of Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz and Bryan Cave, LLC, with a focus on trusts and estates.
"Michael’s extensive background working with a wide variety of trust and estate clients will be significant contributors to the Bank as we continue to grow our Trust Department," said Kathryn Maloney, SVP Trust Services Director. "He is a proven leader in this wealth management space and we are thrilled to have him join our team.”
Mr. Palanza obtained a Bachelor of Arts in Government from St. John’s University. He has also received accreditation from the New York State Bankers Association Schools of Trust Administration and Estate Administration.
About Orange Bank & Trust Company
An independent community bank beginning with a dream of 14 founders over 125 years ago, Orange Bank and Trust, through conservative banking practices, innovation and commitment to its community, now has assets of approximately $1 billion. In recent years, Orange Bank and Trust has added branches in Rockland and Westchester Counties and acquired Hudson Valley Investment Advisors, a wealth management company. While growing, Orange Bank & Trust has continued to focus on providing premier banking services, based on personal relationships, for businesses, organizations and individuals.
OBT Promotes Jayne Rzeczkowski to SVP and Chief Operating Officer
Middletown, NY – May 31, 2019 – The Board of Directors and CEO Michael Gilfeather of Orange Bank & Trust Company are pleased to announce the promotion of Jayne Rzeczkowski to the role of Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer.
Jayne will head the Bank’s operational departments while continuing to serve as the Bank’s Compliance Officer and Corporate Secretary.
“Jayne’s extensive knowledge and experience throughout multiple areas of the bank will be significant contributors to her success in the new position,” said Michael Gilfeather, President and CEO of Orange Bank & Trust Company. “She has played an integral role in the Bank’s ongoing success, with meaningful contributions to branch management, auditing, mortgages, loan operations as well as the Bank’s overall strategic goals.”
Jayne joined Orange Bank & Trust Company in 1989 as Assistant Branch Manager.
Jayne is a graduate of SUNY Orange, earning her associate’s degree in Bank Management. She also holds several professional certifications, including Certified Bank Auditor (CBA) from the Banking Administration Institute and Certified Regulatory Compliance Manager (CRCM) from the American Bankers Association.
ORANGE COUNTY BANCORP DIRECTORS RE-ELECTED
Orange County Bancorp, Inc. Announces First Quarter 2019 Earnings
Orange Bank & Trust Promotes Chief Lending Officer to Executive Vice President
Orange County Bancorp, Inc. Announces Fourth Quarter and Full Year 2018 Earnings
OTC MARKETS GROUP WELCOMES ORANGE COUNTY BANCORP, INC. TO OTCQX
Orange Bank & Trust Announces Relief for Government Workers Affected by Shutdown
MIDDLETOWN, N.Y. (January 15, 2019) — The Board of Directors and CEO Michael Gilfeather of Orange Bank & Trust Company announced today initiatives to assist clients who are U.S. government employees directly impacted by the government shutdown.
Orange Bank & Trust will defer mortgage and loan payments for up to six months or until the end of the government shutdown, whichever comes first, and any credit reporting requirements will be suspended during this time. In addition, Orange Bank & Trust will waive deposit account charges as well as any late fees or early withdrawal penalties for our affected customers.
"We understand the financial stress on clients created by the government shutdown and will work with them to provide financial assistance based on their individual circumstances and needs," said President & CEO Michael Gilfeather. “We all hope this will be resolved soon, but in the interim the Bank stands ready to help those who may need support.”
Orange Bank & Trust encourages its clients to call to discuss certain hardships if they are employees of, or do business with, a U.S. federal agency and their income is affected by the shutdown. Please visit orangebanktrust.com or call your local branch for additional information.
Orange Bank & Trust Moves Operations to New Thornwood Branch
MIDDLETOWN, N.Y. (January 7, 2019) — The Board of Directors and CEO Michael Gilfeather of Orange Bank & Trust are pleased to announce the opening of its full-service Thornwood branch at 859 Franklin Avenue in Thornwood, NY.
“We are proud to continue to serve the Mount Pleasant community with our new branch in Thornwood,” said Joseph Ruhl, Regional President at Orange Bank & Trust. “The Bank is very committed to the Hudson Valley as we continue to grow within Westchester where our bankers are known and respected by the community.”
The branch is headed by Vice President and Relationship Manager Sharon Spina, a seasoned banker with over 25 years of experience in the Mount Pleasant market. Spina along with her team of business bankers, Annel Sylvester and Morrea Latorre, officially moved into the Thornwood branch from their former office in Hawthorne on December, 24th. The Hawthorne branch was located on the second floor of a corporate building which allowed the Bank to quickly open in the marketplace in 2016 while looking for a traditional first floor location.
Spina added, "We are pleased to serve our clients at this beautiful new location. The new space will better accommodate our branch’s growing client base and is in a more convenient and high profile spot within the business community, better reflecting the Bank’s commitment to the Mount Pleasant area.”
The branch will be open, Monday-Friday, 9:00am-4:00pm and provide a complete range of financial services; with a particular focus on commercial lending, cash management, and trust and estate services. Visit orangebanktrust.com or call the branch at 914-984-2780 for additional information.
OBT Hires Robert Peacock as EVP, Chief Financial Officer
Middletown, NY – July 20, 2018 – The Board of Directors and CEO Michael Gilfeather of Orange Bank & Trust Company announced Executive Vice President, Robert Peacock has joined the Bank as Chief Financial Officer. Robert reports to Michael Gilfeather, President and Chief Executive Officer and will be responsible for finance, accounting and IT.
“We conducted an extensive search to find the right leader to compliment the bank’s senior team as we effectively implement the bank’s strategy to be the premier business bank and private bank service provider in the Hudson Valley, “said Michael Gilfeather, President & CEO of Orange Bank & Trust. “Robert has the right combination of experience, talent and enthusiasm for the job and we are delighted to have found him.”
Robert is joining the Bank with an extensive background in financial management and strategic planning. He has previously worked as an Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer for Spencer Savings Bank, headquartered in Elmwood Park, NJ with $2.7 billion in assets and 21 branches.
Prior to joining Spencer, Robert worked as a Managing Director for FinPro, Inc. a leading bank consulting firm. At FinPro he managed consulting engagements specializing in bank-startups from concept, management team selection, regulatory application and capital raising assistance.
Robert has a Master of Business Administration and a BS in Finance and Statistics both from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.
Orange Bank & Trust's affiliate, Hudson Valley Investment Advisors Inc., Appears on Fox Business News
GOSHEN, N.Y. (June 13, 2018) —On June 1, 2018, Hudson Valley Investment Advisors, Inc.’s CEO and Chief Investment Officer, Gus Scacco, was invited on Fox Business News to speak on current issues impacting the markets. In the video, the topics of international trade and tariffs: the current situation in Italy and its impact on the Euro; and the May jobs report were all discussed.You can watch the full video by clicking here or visit hviaonline.com to view the video.
Since 1995, Hudson Valley Investment Advisors, Inc. has combined sophisticated investment management services to meet the specific needs of clients. They have established an investment process that has been developed through years of experience in working with individuals, families, businesses, institutions and foundations. Their investment clients include: Pension Funds, Profit Sharing Plans, Foundations, Endowments, Trusts, Individual Retirement Accounts, SEP Plans, 401K Plans and Managing Customized Investment Portfolios for Individuals. For more information, visit www.hviaonline.com.
Michael Gilfeather is this year's recipient of the Distinguished Citizen Award by Boy Scouts of America
Orange Bank & Trust Company’s President & CEO, Michael Gilfeather, was honored by the Hudson Valley Boy Scout Council with their Distinguished Citizen Award on May 16th. The award is given to individuals who exemplify the ideals found within the Boy Scout Oath and Law. Michael received this honor for enhancing the quality of life in our community and showing long and sustained commitment to the maintenance of high standards in his profession.
Orange Bank & Trust Opens New Full Service Branch in Cortlandt Manor
Orange Bank & Trust Company is proud to announce the opening of the bank’s fifth full service branch in Westchester County. The branch is located at 2141 Crompond Road in Cortlandt Manor.
The branch will service Cortlandt Manor, Peekskill, Yorktown, Croton and the surrounding vicinity. The new branch supports the bank’s strategic plan to expand its operations regionally with a focus on business banking.
The branch will be headed by Vice President and Relationship Manager Michael Golio, a seasoned banker with over 25 years of experience in this marketplace. Golio will lead a team of experienced business bankers to deliver a professional client experience.
The branch is open Monday through Friday 9:00 am to 4:00 pm and provides a complete range of financial services; with a particular focus on commercial lending, cash management, and trust and estate services. Please visit orangebanktrust.com or call the branch at 914‐930‐6279 for additional information.
Orange County Bancorp Directors Re-elected
Middletown, NY (May 29, 2018) – The shareholders of Orange County Bancorp, Inc. (the “Company”) held their annual meeting on May 22, 2018 in Middletown at the headquarters of the company’s subsidiary bank, Orange Bank & Trust Company. Elected to serve three year terms were directors and fellow shareholders, Louis Heimbach, Gregory Holcombe, Paul McDermott and Terry Saturno. “I enjoy working with all the directors and I know Gregory, Paul and Terry will continue their outstanding work on behalf of the company’s shareholders,” said Lou Heimbach, Chairman of the Board of Orange County Bancorp, Inc. The Company is also the parent of Hudson Valley Investment Advisors, Inc. (HVIA) in Goshen, New York.
President and CEO Michael Gilfeather addressed the shareholders and provided a review of the Bank’s 2017 highlights. “Thanks to the significant growth in deposits, loans and trust fees our net income before taxes in 2017 grew 49% to $6.5 million,” said Gilfeather. “Our investments into Cash Management and other technologies along with our market expansion in Rockland and Westchester are large contributors to the Bank’s financial success. However, the most important investments have been in the talents of our employees—both in the traditional roles and unique ones which will keep our community bank with skill sets needed to compete for the long term.”
“HVIA also enjoyed continued momentum in 2017,” said Gus Scacco, President and Chief Investment Officer of HVIA. “Since joining HVIA four years ago we have seen firm asset growth of 44.7% with 2017 calendar year asset growth of 13.8%. In addition, we finished the 2017 calendar year with approximately $800 million in assets.”
In addition to the election of directors, the Company’s shareholders approved the authorization of 10 million additional shares of common stock for a total of 15 million authorized shares. Other directors include, Richard Rowley, Susan Metzger, William Morrison, Virginia Rizzo, David DeWilde, Jonathan Rouis, Gus Scacco as well as Michael Gilfeather.
About Orange County Bancorp, Inc.
Orange County Bancorp, Inc. is the parent company of Orange Bank & Trust Company and Hudson Valley Investment Advisors, Inc. Orange Bank & Trust Company is an independent community bank beginning with a dream of 14 founders over 125 years ago and through conservative banking practices, innovation and commitment to its community, now has assets of one billion. In recent years, Orange Bank and Trust Company has added branches in Rockland and Westchester Counties. Hudson Valley Investment Advisors, Inc. is a Registered Investment Advisor in Goshen, NY. It was founded in 1996 and was acquired by the Company in 2012. For more information, visit orangebanktrust.com or www.hviaonline.com.
Orange Bank & Trust Opens Fourth Westchester County Branch
The Board of Directors and CEO Michael Gilfeather of Orange Bank & Trust Company announced on August 24 that the bank had opened its fourth full service branch in Westchester County. The branch is located at 510 South Columbus Avenue in Mount Vernon. After overcoming some expected initial delays, the bank held a festive
ribbon-cutting ceremony on Wednesday, October 4. The ribbon-cutting event was attended by approximately 150 people, followed by a reception at a nearby restaurant.
This new branch supports the bank’s strategic plan to expand its operations regionally with a focus on business banking. The branch will be headed by Vice President and Relationship Manager Patrick Smith, who will lead a team of experienced business bankers to deliver a professional client experience, Orange Bank & Trust stated in the announcement. Smith is no stranger to Mount Vernon since he managed the former Hudson Valley Bank on Sandford Boulevard for several years.
Additionally, the bank’s Westchester Trust Division lead by Vice President and Trust Officer, Sinead Fitzsimons, moved its operations to the new Mount Vernon location. The bank’s other Westchester County locations are in White Plains, Mamaroneck and Mount Pleasant.
Orange Bank & Trust Renames Headquarters to Honor Morrison Family Support
Information on the Equifax Breach
As of 9.7.17, Equifax has stated that there is “No Evidence of Unauthorized Access to Core Consumer or Commercial Credit Reporting Databases”. Regardless, it may be in your best interest to understand or review the information Equifax has been issuing in response.
Equifax has set up a website to help consumers determine if their information was breached and, if so, to sign up for credit monitoring and identity theft protection offered by TrustedID, an Equifax subsidiary. Equifax will also mail notices to consumers whose credit card numbers or dispute documents were breached. For more information visit: www.equifaxsecurity2017.com
To see recommended courses of action the Federal Trade Commission has provided on the breach, please click here.
If you would like to place a security freeze on your Equifax credit information, please visit www.freeze.equifax.com/Freeze and follow the instructions provided.
This is being provided for informational purposes only. Orange Bank & Trust Company is not making recommendations of action or inaction, it is important for you to consider what may be the best option for you.
Easter Holiday Phishing Scams and Malware Campaigns
As the Easter holiday approaches, US-CERT reminds users to stay aware of holiday scams and cyber campaigns, which may include:
• Unsolicited shipping notifications that may actually be scams by attackers to solicit personal information (phishing scams),
• Electronic greeting cards that may contain malicious software (malware),
• Requests for charitable contributions that may be phishing scams or solicitations from sources that are not real charities, and
• alse advertisements for holiday accommodations or timeshares.
US-CERT encourages users and administrators to use caution when reviewing unsolicited messages. Suggested preventive measures to protect against phishing scams and malware campaigns include:
• Do not click web links in untrusted email messages.
• Refer to the Shopping Safely Online Tip.
• Use caution when opening email attachments. Check out the Using Caution with Email Attachments Tip for more information on safely handling email attachments.
• Review the Federal Trade Commission's page on Charity Scams. Use the links there to verify a charity’s authenticity before you donate.
• Read the Avoiding Social Engineering and Phishing Attacks Tip.
• Refer to the Holiday Traveling with Personal Internet-Enabled Devices Tip for more information on protecting personal mobile devices.
Orange County Bancorp, Inc. Declares Cash Dividend
MIDDLETOWN, NY-- On November 10, 2016, the Board of Directors of Orange County Bancorp, Inc., the parent company of Orange Bank & Trust Company and Hudson Valley Investment Advisors, Inc., declared a 41¢ cash dividend per share of its common stock. The dividend is payable on December 20, 2016 to shareholders of record as of December 6, 2016.
About Orange County Bancorp, Inc.
Orange County Bancorp, Inc. (the “Company”) is a Delaware corporation and a bank holding company is headquartered in Middletown, NY.
The Company stock trades on the OTC Pink Sheets under “OCBI.”
About Orange Bank & Trust Company
An independent community bank founded 124 years ago, Orange Bank & Trust now has assets of over $900 million. In recent years, Orange Bank & Trust has added branches and expanded into Rockland, Westchester and Dutchess Counties. While growing, OB&T has continued to focus on providing community-based banking, based on personal relationships, for businesses, organizations and individuals.
Information in this release relating to the Company’s future prospects which are forward-looking statements involve risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially, including, but not limited to, the following: (1) operating, legal and regulatory risks, such as continued levels of loan quality and origination volume, continued relationships with major customers and technological changes; (2) economic, political and competitive forces affecting our banking business, such as changes in economic conditions, especially in our market area, interest rate fluctuations, competitive product and pricing pressures within our market, personal and corporate bankruptcies, monetary policy and inflation; (3) our ability to grow internally or through acquisitions; and (4) the risk that management’s analyses of these risks and forces could be incorrect and/or that the strategies developed to address them could be unsuccessful. Forward-looking statements may be identified by the use of words such as “expects,” “believe,” “will,” “intends,” “will be” or “would.” Orange County Bancorp, Inc. assumes no obligation to update the forward-looking information in this announcement, except as required under applicable law.
Orange County Bancorp, Inc.
Timothy S. McCausland
SVP & Corporate Secretary
The Local Live #134 Willow Gardens Memory Care 9-22-16
United Way Holds Campaign Kick-Off Breakfast Honoring Community and Civic Leaders, Michael Gilfeather and Sheila Appel
United Way of the Dutchess-Orange Region kicked off the 2016 Campaign for the Common Good on Thursday, September 15th. United Way President & CEO Jeannie Montano noted that, “We’ll be celebrating our community and its leaders and will learn how we can continue to make positive change through support of United Way and its initiatives.” She went on to state that with the continued support of the community, “United Way helps more than 101,000 individuals each year.”
A committee of community and civic leaders selected this year’s two Community Champion honorees, Sheila Appel of IBM and our very own, Michael Gilfeather of Orange Bank & Trust Company, for their service to the community and leadership of their respective United Way campaigns
In addition to presentations to the honorees by Dutchess & Orange County Executives, Marcus Molinaro and Steven Neuhaus, there were discussions by three nonprofit partner leaders. Executive Officer of Family Services, Brian Doyle; Executive Director of Mental Health America Dutchess County, Andrew O’Grady, LCSW-R; and Executive Director of Safe Homes of Orange County Kellyann Kostyal-Larrier. Each explained how the support by the community through United Way of their respective programs makes a daily and visible difference in peoples’ lives.
Orange Bank and Trust Company was the Corporate Sponsor of the New York State Bar Association's May CLE Program in White Plains
White Plains, NY - Orange Bank and Trust Company, a division of Orange County Trust Company was the corporate sponsor of the New York State Bar Association's (NYSBA) May CLE program titled, Utilizing Supplemental Needs Trusts, which was held at the Elmwood Country Club on May 12. The Bank was represented by SVP's, Timothy McCausland and Trust Services Director, Kate Maloney. The program addressed the issues faced by attorneys practicing in the Supplemental Needs Trusts (SNTs) area, including an overview of how SNTs can be used, practical tips on effectively drafting SNTs, and an examination of the types of SNTs to use in different situations. For information on NYSBA's upcoming events, please visit:
Orange County Trust Company is the primary lender on $4 million solar farm
Mid-Hudson News Network, a division of Statewide News Network, Inc.Corrugated box manufacturer installs $4 million solar farm
TOWN OF WALLKILL - A company that manufactures corrugated shipping containers is installing a $4.2 million solar farm that will power 30 percent of its operations in the Town of Wallkill. The General Electric installation is partially funding through NYSERDA%u2019s NY-SUN Incentive Program. Orange County Trust Company is the primary lender on the project. http://www.midhudsonnews.com/News/2015/May/30/PresCntr-30May15.html
Orange County Trust and Local Businesses Salute Career and Technical Education Outstanding Students
On Tuesday, June 2, 2015 the education and business communities came together to celebrate thirty-two students who excelled in all aspects of their CTE education- theory, practical skills and work-based learning - at the OU BOCES Career and Technical Education Center. The first annual Outstanding Career and Technical Education Students' Recognition Dinner was held at the Villa Venezia in Goshen, where the students, their families, their CTE instructors, guidance counselors and administrators and home school administrators joined them to commend their hard work, dedication, skills and accomplishments. The dinner was the brainchild of Michael Gilfeather, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Orange County Trust Company who reached out to his business colleagues throughout Orange County to join him in supporting and celebrating the achievements of the Career and Technical Education students. He received an overwhelming response from the business community with thirty-six businesses and individuals contributing to the event. Not only were the students and their guests treated to a wonderful dinner, but Orange County Trust also gave each honoree a free checking account for two years, and seeded it with $50 that will hopefully grow as these talented young people progress into successful careers. For more information visit: http://ouboces.org/
Orange County Trust Hosts Lunch & Learn
Orange County Trust Company hosted a special Business Banking Lunch & Learn for Judelson, Giordano & Siegel, CPA, P.C. today to discuss the mutual resources available at each firm and the ways in which the market is changing for their customers and clients.
Philanthropist, SUNY Orange supporter Morrison, 81, dies
Friends and business associates Wednesday were mourning John H. Morrison III, longtime Orange County Trust chairman, scion of a prominent Middletown family, philanthropist, and tireless supporter of SUNY Orange.Morrison, who was 81, died Tuesday at his home in Warwick. He was Orange County Trust chairman from 1985-2012. The Morrison family is well-known, especially for its long association with SUNY Orange. For more information please visit: http://www.recordonline.com/article/20150930/NEWS/150939913
Orange County Trust Company was the Gold Sponsor of the annual Attorney, Banker, CPA Networking Event
Middletown, NY - 2013 Orange County Trust Company was the Gold sponsor of the annual Attorney, Banker, CPA Networking Event hosted by the Mid-Hudson Chapter of the NY State CPA Society on November 4th at Anthony- 2019s Pier 9. The event featured, as its speaker, Marv Levy, Pro Football Hall of Fame coach of the Buffalo Bills.
Orange County Trust Company to sponsor informational workshop targeted at Manufacturing and Technology Companies
MIDDLETOWN, N.Y. (January 20, 2016) - The internationally acclaimed standard for Quality Management, ISO 9001 has been revised to ensure it remains relevant to the business issues and challenges which organizations face today. To help these businesses understand more about the changes, Hudson Valley Technology Development Center (HVTDC) will run an informational program to update them on the changes affecting the system. Orange County Trust Company will be the premier sponsor of the workshop which will be held on March 18th, 2016 from 9:30am- 11:30am at the Larkin Conference Room, 33 Airport Drive, New Windsor, NY. Join Co-Founder and President of E-Prism Solutions, Chuck Mitman, for a workshop addressing these critical issues. Key topics to be reviewed include:
- ISO 9001:2015: What is changing?
- The New ISO Annex SL platform
- ISO 9001:2015 & risk management
- Documentation under ISO 9001 2015
- How ISO 9001:2015 may change the way you do business
ISO 9001:2015 training and overview courses HVTDC provides hands on support & growth services to small & mid-sized manufacturers & early stage technology companies by delivering high quality, cost beneficial technical & management services. HVTDC improves the competitiveness of existing small businesses & advances the development of new business opportunities through the application of innovative, cost-effective techniques and tools.