SBDC Needs Funding

Lawrence Auls sbdcMany owners of small businesses don’t know about Small Business Development Centers, a network of about one thousand offices around the country offering free help for aspiring entrepreneurs.  A recent article on reported on the plight of this helpful agency.  Small businesses often struggle to find resources, particularly guidance and research.  This is what Small Business Development Centers are providing…except they’re now struggling, themselves.

SBDCs haven’t found revenue outside of state and federal fudging, they are likely to cut services in the Pennsylvania / New Jersey area.  Success of small businesses are a large part of the economic recovery plan, credited by the Obama administration as a leader of the recovery.  For this reason it is important the small businesses have resources like those provided by SBDCs.  With even small cuts to funding or services, less businesses will receive valuable aid, and as a result, less will succeed.  Or worse, some ideas won’t turn into businesses.  And all of this leads to fewer jobs being created.

There are eighteen SBDC locations in Pennsylvania, having helped over thirty thousand businesses in the past twenty years.  Added together, these businesses accounted for nearly 150,000 jobs, and over a billion dollars of taxes.  In case you didn’t get it, that is a significant amount of money and jobs in Pennsylvania, particularly during a time of recovery.

As of now, these PA locations are operating with 25% of 2008 funding.  With all the talk about supporting small businesses for the good work they’re doing to lead the economy back to health, the CEO of the New Jersey SBDC locations says it’s time to put money where our mouths are.  Small businesses are the engine driving the recovery.

Relying almost exclusively on funding from state and federal government sources, PA SBDCs are really struggling to stay afloat.  Last year they had three million dollars of allocated funds.  This is terribly low when compared to the eight million dollars they received in 2007.  The only reason these offices have kept their doors open at all is because of the Small Business Jobs Act passed by the congress in 2010.  This act provides funding to SBDCs in lieu of other funds that had been reallocated.  The funding provided through this bill has ended.  Pennsylvania SBDC is currently applying for the state to match that level of funding to prevent cuts to services.  They see the funding as a necessary part of supporting aspiring entrepreneurs in the state.  They’d like to work with at least 700 clients this year, with a goal of aiding the start of 100 new businesses.

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