While funding is the resource at the top of all small business owners’ lists currently, it’s still important to know how you can access nonmonetary resources. For over 40 years, America’s Small Business Development Center (SBDC) has been connecting small business owners and entrepreneurs with a variety of resources to start and grow their businesses at little to no cost. Formed in 1979 as the Association of Small Business Development Centers, SBDCs were officially made available to all states across the country in 1991, and officially changed the program name to America’s Small Business Development Center in 2013.
Currently there are over 1,000 SBDCs spread out across all 50 states, hosted by universities, colleges, state economic development agencies, and private sector partners. Programs and activities offered by SBDCs are funded through a partnership between the United States Congress and the U.S. Small Business Administration. Some of the tools and resources offered by SBDCs include professional consulting, seminars, conferences, online links to free business resources, and disaster recovery assistance. While these centers offer in person services, due to COVID-19, all services have been moved to a virtual format.
In response to COVID-19, each state’s SBDC website currently features a COVID-19 Resources page dedicated to providing site visitors with updated news and announcements, Economic Injury Disaster Loan Assistance, links to state level and federal support, tool kits to help navigate the CARES Act and Loan Programs, Business Survival tips, and Frequently Asked Questions. Some resources are state specific and may vary based on each state’s SBDC website.
California’s SBDC Network consists of 35 SBDCs located across the state’s regions. To find the SBDC closest to you, visit California’s SBDC website here, and click on the “Find Your SBDC” link. And for more information on America’s SBDC network, visit their website at https://americassbdc.org/.