Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet of the U.S. Small Business Administration commended the Small Business Development Center program, the largest SBA-supported counseling and training network, on its 35 years of service to the American people.
"Over the last 35 years, millions of entrepreneurs have been able to launch and grow their businesses because of the counseling they've received at Small Business Development Centers across the country," Contreras-Sweet said Thursday. "SBA is proud of the partnership we have with the SBDCs and the role we've played in helping to fund and shape the world's largest and strongest network of advisers. SBDCs give us a competitive advantage in the global economy. They ensure the uncommon ingenuity and hard work of our small business owners is matched by their financial acumen and mastery of business fundamentals."
The SBDC network counseled more than 1.2 million clients from 2009-14, fueled by $750 million in grants from the SBA. That has resulted in 82,000 new small businesses, access to $24 billion in capital, and $131 billion in small business revenue and sales.
SBDCs provide free counseling, as well as no-cost and low-cost training assistance, to small businesses and aspiring entrepreneurs through 63 lead SBDCs at more than 900 outreach locations, operating in every state, the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico, American Samoa and the U.S. Virgin Islands. A model of public-private partnership, the SBDCs are hosted by leading universities and state economic development agencies that work in cooperation with the SBA to provide services to small businesses. They help entrepreneurs realize their dreams of business ownership and aid existing businesses through consulting and training services. In fiscal year 2014, the SBDC program counseled and trained nearly 500,000 small business clients.
The America's SBDC Network President Charles "Tee" Rowe added, "America's small businesses are truly the engine of economic growth and, for 35 years, America's SBDCs have been like spark plugs helping to keep that engine going. SDBCs are driving small business growth by helping to create a new business every 33 minutes and a new job every seven minutes."
Since its start, the SBDCs services have adapted to meet the changing needs of entrepreneurs and their expanding global presence. They continue to help entrepreneurs achieve the American dream of business ownership.
Contreras-Sweet will deliver the closing keynote at the ASBDC conference in San Francisco this week. To learn more about the SBDC program or to locate the SBDC nearest you, visit www.sba.gov/sbdc.