Report affirms role of small business centers

A new federal report affirms the role of Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs) in assisting small businesses and promoting economic development.

More than 900 SBDCs operate across the United States, including a center located in the Business Incubator Center in Grand Junction. The centers offer direct, face-to-face counseling to entrepreneurs starting ventures as well as managing existing operations.

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 helped millions of small business owners and entrepreneurs start and grow small firms.

A report produced by the National Small Business Development Center Advisory Board focuses on the effects of SBDCs in promoting access to programs and services offered by the U.S. Small Business Administration as well as assisting local businesses and economies.

“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 hometowns and play an active and vital role in those.”

The report demonstrates statistically the effects SBA-funded SBDCs have on the formation and growth of small businesses.

A key finding of the report is that SBDCs help local economies by improving the odds for startup small businesses. “SBDCs 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 stated.

The report also highlighted the effectiveness of SBDC counseling in improving the chances of entrepreneurs 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 stated.

In addition, the report found that the SBDC program, for which the federal government covers half the cost, constitutes a good investment because of 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.