Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Small Business Development Centers: it's no secret By: Roger Green

Author: Roger Green for

Once upon a time, back in 1980, Congress passed the Small Business Act that created the Small Business Development Center program administered through the US Small Business Administration. It would be a partnership primarily between colleges/universities and government to provide comprehensive small business counseling services. The SBDC program now exists in all 50 states, plus the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and US territories.

Yet, the SBDC program, to too great a degree, remains unknown to a large number of current businesses as well as potential entrepreneurs who are eligible for free and confidential services. Many business advisors have started or managed their own small businesses; others come from the financial sector, such as banks, so they know what banks want to see in terms of financial projections. Additionally, low-cost training sessions are offered by the SBDCs in a variety of areas.

While SBDCs are operated at a statewide or state region-wide level, the centers throughout the states have been organized to provide local coverage. Advisors develop awareness of local business trends and are familiar with local resources that can assist their clients.

I have been a librarian for the New York State Small Business Development Center since October 1992. My colleagues and I provide reference services for the counselors of the NYS SBDC, who in turn receive questions from their clients, though counselors field many queries themselves. A few other state programs have library services, and there is also a national SBDC library. These libraries are designed to support the SBDC advisor and not the general public.However, the NYS SBDC does have blog page to which all the librarians have been contributing for over four years. We also have Twitter and Facebook pages available to the general public.

Starting a small business in tough economic times may seem counterintuitive, but based on evidence from previous economic downturns, it may well be an ideal time to follow one’s entrepreneurial dream. Go to the ASBDC website and find the Small Business Development Center for your state. is an official site of the U.S. Government