Since 1976, America’s Small Business Development Centers (SBDC) have been connecting entrepreneurs to the resources they need to start, grow, expand, and recover their businesses. What began as a pilot program at California State Polytechnic University has evolved into a nationwide network that today is nearly 1,000-strong. SBDCs serve approximately one million small business owners and entrepreneurs each year, and the results are equally impressive. According to America’s SBDC 2023 Annual Report, SBDCs help their clients create a new business every 36 minutes, and a new job every 6.2 minutes.
Through their partnership with the SBA, as well as the universities, colleges, state economic development agencies, and private sector organizations that host them, SBDCs provide no-cost counseling and no- or low-cost training to both established small business owners and emerging entrepreneurs alike, with a special interest in rural and underserved communities, women entrepreneurs, veteran entrepreneurs, special populations, and young people. SBDC advisors cover all aspects of business ownership, such as business planning, regulatory compliance, exporting, tech growth, cybersecurity, e-commerce, and disaster recovery, to name a few.
The impact: 63% of SBDC clients go on to start new businesses, a number well worth celebrating this SBDC Day, March 15, 2023.
SBDC Day unites the small business community over its shared successes. Successes like Grecia Diaz. A Venezuelan native, Grecia envisioned a place where consumers could go for healthy snacks without the hassle of membership fees and high shipping rates. She founded SnackEVER, an online store that specializes in natural and organic foods. To sharpen her skills and knowledge of international trade, exporting, and search engine optimization services, Grecia turned to her local SBDC in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Now, she delivers her products to businesses, schools, camps, and families around the U.S. — and worldwide.
Grecia is far from the only one to leverage the resources of America’s SBDCs. There are also business owners like Steve Kesselring. When essential oils helped him recover from a life-threatening accident, Steve became motivated to share his experiences with others. He founded Your Oil Tools in Hooksett, New Hampshire. With the support of another SBA resource partner, SCORE, Steve was able to navigate launch and rapid expansion. He would go on to utilize counseling sessions from the New Hampshire Small Business Development Center to help his business become one of the largest aromatherapy supply companies in the country.