What Are Small Business Development Centers?

Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs) provide free marketing, financing and business-related activities to local entrepreneurs. They are found in all states, as well as Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico and U.S. territories, and exist as a partnership between the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and typically a local college or university designed to help foster small businesses and jobs by providing educational resources to business owners and those looking to start a business.

SBDCs combine private-sector know-how with the educational background of colleges and universities in order to provide entrepreneurs with the resources they need to feel confident in starting a business. Less than half of a SBDC's funding comes from the SBA, with the remaining portion coming from state funding, donations, grants and corporate sponsorships.

Understanding Small Business Development Centers

Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs) provide assistance to small businesses and aspiring entrepreneurs throughout the United States and its territories, and are administered by the Small Business Administration (SBA). According to the SBA website, SBDCs help entrepreneurs "realize the dream of business ownership" and help existing businesses remain competitive in a complex, ever-changing global marketplace. SBDCs are hosted by leading universities and state economic development agencies, and funded in part through a partnership with SBA.

SBDC advisors provide aspiring and current small business owners a variety of free business consulting and low-cost training services including business plan development, manufacturing assistance, financial packaging and lending assistance, exporting and importing support, disaster recovery assistance, procurement and contracting aid, market research help, 8(a) program support, and healthcare guidance. Currently, there are almost 1,000 local SBDC centers available to provide no-cost business consulting and low-cost training to new and existing businesses including in U.S. territories such as Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

SBDCs provide the knowledge, education, and expertise small businesses are often missing. Whether it’s taxes, financing, marketing, training or networking, SBDCs are there to help their clients overcome challenges, discover new opportunities and unlock their potential so their businesses can soar to new heights. The SBDC Network includes dedicated business advisors working in partnership with universities, economic development professionals, chambers of commerce, lenders, investors and entrepreneurs themselves.

Nationwide, small businesses employ 58 million people, nearly half of all American workers in the private sector. With deep roots in their communities, small firms and their employees are the engine driving the American economy. SBDCs provide these local businesses and
entrepreneurs with the resources they need to thrive, compete and succeed

"America's SBDC" is the association that represents America's nationwide network of Small Business Development Centers. According to its website, in the year 2017, $5.16 billion in financing was raised through its network for small businesses, which created over 96,000 jobs nationwide. In 2017, more than 192,000 small business owners and entrepreneurs utilized the business consulting services provided by SBDCs and over 261,000 received some sort of training.