“You have the best coach, business advisor, analyst and mentor I’ve ever had in any business,” says businessman Reed Rogers Of Lillian, Alabama, when talking about the assistance he received from the local Small Business Development Center.
And the good news for aspiring and current business owners is that there is probably a Small Business Development Center (SBDC) near you. In partnership with the U.S. Small Business Administration, there are nearly 1,000 Centers across the country.
However, less than half the funding of the Centers comes from the SBA. The balance comes from a variety of sources including donations from successful businesses.
SBDC advisors provide current and future small business owners a variety of free business consulting and low-cost training services including business plan development, manufacturing assistance, technology development, funding assistance, exporting and importing support, disaster recovery assistance, procurement and contracting aid, market research help and more.
Nationwide, small businesses employ 60 million people, which is nearly half of all American workers. With deep roots in their communities, small firms and their employees are the engines driving the American economy. Small Business Development Centers provide these local businesses and entrepreneurs with the resources they need to thrive, compete, and succeed.
Lest you think this is another wasteful government program, ponder this: In my home state, for every federal dollar invested in the Alabama SBDC program, $2.35 is
returned to the state, and $3.79 is returned to the federal government in tax revenue.
In other words, this dog will definitely hunt!
A common thread running through the accolades from clients of the SBDC is that the assistance received is real-world and spot-on. Maria Richard, a client of the Mobile, Alabama SBDC related, “My business advisor, Mel Washington, has been the most supportive, encouraging, and innovative person I’ve spoken with about my business. He has helped me fine tune my processes and identify my company’s position in the marketplace.”
Often located on college campuses, SBDC offices successfully combine private sector know-how with the educational background of universities in order to provide entrepreneurs with the resources they need to feel confident in starting and running a business.
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