There are more than 900 small business development centres in the United States. Sponsored by the Small Business Association, these centres are often run in partnership with state and local governments, colleges, and the private sector.
Counselors are on hand to help an entrepreneur craft a business plan, fill out a loan application, or come up with a winning marketing strategy.
Click here to see the centres that stand out →
“The SBDCs exist to help entrepreneurs and small business owners obtain capital to support their companies, and make better decisions on key aspects of their business operations,” says Antonio Doss, associate administrator for the Office of Small Business Development centres, a group within the SBA that coordinates the program. “The advisors at the SBDCs work with entrepreneurs to make the necessary adjustments to establish a business that’s sustainable and profitable.”
SBDCs also assist companies in gaining access to capital—a service that has been particularly crucial of late. In 2009 and again last year, SBDCs nationally helped clients secure funding in excess of $3.8 billion in the form of debt, equity, and grant money. “It was surprising the amount of support SBDC’s were able to get in the area of capital infusion,” Doss says. “We expected to see a downturn the last two years but our business advisors were able to help clients get additional money because of the relationships they have in the lending community.”
To help identify the most active and innovative SBDCs around the country, a team of Inc.com reporters interviewed 45 entrepreneurs and small business advocates. The centres that stand out provide exceptional support for their local entrepreneurial communities while at the same time they serves as national models for effective small business advocacy.
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The District of Columbia Small Business Development centre prides itself on its ability to help business owners navigate the daunting and complicated road to becoming a federal government contractor.
The Georgia State University Small Business Development centre provides excellent leadership training through the award-winning Kauffman Foundation's FastTrac GrowthVenture program.
When the local RV industry fell on hard times, the North Central Indiana Small Business Development centre focused on helping businesses in the region spur innovation.
The centre's Pre-Seed Workshop is designed to help researchers at the University of Notre Dame commercialize their ideas.
North Central Kansas Small Business Development centre serves 11 counties with a population of about 125,000 people.
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