SBA Program Helps to Bridge The Small Business Gap
Fresno, CA – The U.S. Small Business Administration’s national network of Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs) plays an essential role in the economic development of their states and local communities through their direct, face-to-face counseling for small businesses, according to a report released by the SBA.
The report, produced by the National Small Business Development Center Advisory Board, focuses on SBDCs’ impact on small business access to SBA’s programs and services, including access to SBA capital, procurement, disaster and international trade programs. The nine-member independent advisory board provides advice and counsel to the SBA.
“SBA’s Small Business Development Centers give new and growing small businesses the resources they need throughout the year to grow and create jobs,” said SBA Administrator Karen Mills. “The soundness of our economy depends on stable small businesses across the country and SBDCs are front and center helping entrepreneurs start, grow and expand their companies. These institutions reflect the diversity and individuality of their nearly 900 home towns and play an active and vital role in those.”
SBDC services are offered throughout the Central California area under the leadership of the University of California, Merced. The UC Merced SBDC Regional Network is a nationally accredited program that works with CSU Bakersfield, Fresno, Monterey Bay, Cal Poly along with The Alliance SBDC and Women’s Economic Ventures to provide a local footprint throughout a 15-county region in Central California.
Last year, more than 2,290 entrepreneurs received 14,267 hours of business advice and technical assistance through the UC Merced SBDC program. This resulted in $14.6 million in additional capital investment into the economy that resulted in 655 new and/or retained jobs.
“We are very fortunate to be a partner with SBA to provide small business and entrepreneurial assistance throughout Central California. We have a dedicated team of professionals who provide outstanding assistance in order to build successful and sustainable business communities,” said Diane Howerton, Regional Director.
The report, The SBDC Program: An Indispensable Partner in America’s Economic Development, demonstrates statistically the prolonged impact that SBA-funded SBDCs have on the growth of small businesses and can be viewed at http://www.sba.gov/sites/default/files/White%20Paper%20-%20FINAL%20-%2007-15-2011.pdf.
Key findings of the report include:
- SBDCs help local economies by improving the odds for startup small businesses. “SBDCs,” the report says, “are solely focused on creating and supporting small businesses which in turn pay taxes, provide employment and diversify the economic base for their states. . . The businesses that work with the SBDCs are the job creators and enterprises that have the potential for survival and growth.”
- The report also highlights the effectiveness of SBDC counseling in improving the chances of small businesses that are seeking credit. “SBDCs have intimate knowledge of what lenders really want and need from borrowers to increase the likelihood of them being able to make a loan. The SBDC Business Advisors provide solid technical expertise to coach borrowers through the lending process.”
- The report found that the SBDC program, for which the federal government covers half the cost, remains one of the government’s best investments because of its close associations with other SBA resource partners, federal, state and local government small business assistance programs and service providers; universities and community colleges; and private enterprise and local nonprofit economic development organizations.
Nationwide last year, more than 557,000 entrepreneurs received business advice and technical assistance through the SBDC program. In its more than 30-year history, SBDCs have assisted millions of small business owners and entrepreneurs to successfully start and grow small firms by fostering entrepreneurship and growth through innovation and efficiency.
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