Best Practices

Improving the Odds for Small Business

Published Feb 06, 2012 by Maria Meyers
It’s the one question we are all focused on right now: How do you grow the economy?

You grow it by strengthening local economies—by fortifying existing small businesses and inspiring people to take that leap into entrepreneurship. 

You do it by creating jobs—city by city, state by state.

Improving the Odds for Startups

Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs) are an essential part of that hard work, confirms a report by the U.S. Small Business Administration. Located in nearly 900 communities nationwide, SBDCs use their direct, face-to-face counseling not just to strengthen existing small businesses—their coaching and counseling actually helps improve startups’ odds of survival.

The report, The SBDC Program: An Indispensable Partner in America’s Economic Development, focuses on SBDCs’ impact on small business access to SBA’s programs and services, including SBA capital, procurement, disaster and international trade programs. The results statistically demonstrate the prolonged impact that SBA-funded SBDCs have on the formation and growth of small businesses. 

Check the numbers. Last year, more than 557,000 entrepreneurs received business advice and technical assistance through their local SBDCs.  In its more than 30-year history, SBDCs have assisted millions of small business owners and entrepreneurs to successfully start and grow small firms by fostering entrepreneurship and growth through innovation and efficiency.

From Surviving the Startup Phase to Securing Loans

“SBDCs,” the report says, “are solely focused on creating and supporting small businesses which in turn pay taxes, provide employment and diversify the economic base for their states. . . The businesses that work with the SBDCs are the job creators and enterprises that have the potential for survival and growth.”

The report also highlights the effectiveness of SBDC counseling in improving the chances of small businesses that seek small business loans.  With their intimate knowledge of what lenders really want and their expert coaching through the lending process, SBDCs help borrowers leverage that knowledge, increasing the likelihood of getting a loan.

The SBDC program, for which the federal government covers half the cost, remains one of the government’s best investments because of its close associations with other SBA resource partners, federal, state and local government small business assistance programs and service providers; universities and community colleges; and private enterprise and local nonprofit economic development organizations.