The Intelligencer: Per Diem Space in Perkasie launches business consulting program
Local business incubator and collaborative workspace launches new consulting program Friday.
Per Diem Space in Perkasie has spent the last year developing a program to help small businesses thrive, and the Small Business in a Box consulting program officially launches Friday.
In the simplest terms, the program is a consulting service for small businesses, but there’s a lot more moving parts to this business model, said Per Diem co-founder Karen Chellew.
The program is a kind of mix of consulting programs, networking services and other professional aides that Chellew said grew out of services the company already had been offering.
“It’s outside-the-box thinking,” Chellew said Wednesday, describing both the new consulting firm and Per Diem’s business model.
The company opened its headquarters at 528 W. Market St. in Perkasie about a year ago, leasing out space for small business clients to use for almost anything.
“It’s a fluid workspace,” Chellew said, adding that a meeting room rented to a client three times a month could be a photography studio for another client once a month, and something different for yet another client.
With a variety of businesses using their spaces, Chellew added the consulting and networking aspect of the new program was a kind of natural evolution.
The Small Business in a Box program starts with a consultation between the business owner and a Per Diem employee to develop a general plan to help the small business grow.
Debbi Bacak started chocolate catering company Riverhorse Chocolates after consulting with Chellew and others at Per Diem about a year ago, and she said the program helped her greatly in starting her business.
“I had no idea how to go about setting up a small business,” Bacak said. “But, because of Per Diem and the Small Business in a Box program, I have a graphic designer who has started a website and Facebook page for me.”
Chellew added the company has legal, financial and other consultants to help nearly every aspect of starting or growing a new business.
Steve Barth, economic development director in Perkasie, worked with Chellew when she and her partners were planning their business incubator, and later became one of the company’s first customers through his personal consulting firm.
“I believe I might have been Per Diem’s first customer for all their services.” Barth said in an email. “It is a pleasure now to watch Per Diem grow and thrive by offering such an innovative business concept in Perkasie that is growing new businesses into the community.”