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What are Small Business Development Centers

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Small Business Development Centers (SBDC) are partnerships between colleges or universities and the government, administered by the Small Business Administration, that provide educational services for aspiring entrepreneurs as well as current small business owners. The services cover a wide range of topics and every stage of the development process, from the beginning of making a business plan through to the logistics of actually running and expanding the business. The development centers provide these services as well as consulting at no cost to the client.

History of the SBDC program

The SBDC program grew out of the University Business Development Center program, which was developed in 1976 as a way of substantially increasing the counseling and advising that the Small Business Administration could provide for employee-owned businesses. The first program for this was established at California State Polytechnic University and expanded to seven more universities throughout the following year. Three years after its inception (with programs in 18 states across the country), the program's name was changed to the current Small Business Development Center program, and the Small Business Development Act of 1980 bestowed $8.5 million annually in funding. Development Centers have since been established not only in all 50 states, but in some American protectorates as well, including Guam, American Samoa, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

SBDC services

The SBDC program offers a number of services to beginning and established small businesses, including presentations and lectures build for a number of attendees as well as confidential consulting tailored to the needs of a specific business, all at no cost to the business or owner in question. The subjects covered in both the presentations and the consulting address all parts of the business development and operation process, such as marketing, management structuring, production, financial organization and development, and technological organization. The program also offers low-cost training opportunities for businesses, allowing them to help their employees better understand what their goals and responsibilities are.

Success of the SBDC program

The SBDC program has shown great success in helping develop and expand the small business economy; in 2009 alone, the program helped its clients receive approximately $3 billion in financing, with every dollar spent on the SBDC network helping those small businesses achieve nearly $15 in new revenue. The nationwide coverage of the program (over 1,000 locations in rural, urban, and suburban areas) gives a wide variety of clients access to its services as well - approximately 43% of its 2010 clients were women, while 33% of the total clients were minorities.

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