(Washington, D.C.) – U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business & Entrepreneurship Chair Ben Cardin (D-Md.) and U.S. Senators Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Mazie Hirono (D- Hawaii), Chris Coons (D-Del.), Ed Markey (D- Mass.), Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.), and Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) today introduced the Small Business Development Centers Improvement Act of 2022—legislation to reauthorize and improve the U.S. Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Small Business Development Center (SBDC) Program.
“The Small Business Development Center program is a large piece of the SBA’s entrepreneurial development ecosystem. SBDCs support our small business owners through a myriad of challenges and help small businesses grow,” said Senator Cardin. “It is essential that we give SBDCs our full support. I am proud to work with my colleagues on the Small Business Committee to introduce this critical legislation, empowering our SBDCs and the entrepreneurs they guide along the way.”
“Small businesses are the backbone of our economy and our country,” said Senator Booker. “SBDCs are an important tool in ensuring that small businesses have the resources to grow and prosper. I am proud to work with my colleagues on this legislation that would allow SBDCs to continue providing vital services to small businesses.”
“Small Business Development Centers provide much needed counseling and support to business owners and entrepreneurs in Hawaii and throughout the nation,” said Senator Hirono. “In 2021 alone, Hawaii SBDC helped small business owners create over 500 jobs and start more than 70 local businesses, strengthening our economy and our communities. SBDCs play an important role in providing the resources businesses need to succeed. As a member of the Senate Small Business Committee, I will continue working to support local businesses and entrepreneurs in Hawaii and across the country.”
“I am thankful for the invaluable assistance that Small Business Development Centers have provided to Delaware’s more than 88,000 small businesses and countless similar companies across the country,” said Senator Coons. “After seeing firsthand the difficulties Delaware’s small businesses have faced since the COVID-19 pandemic and the resilience of their workers, I’m more committed than ever to ensuring these businesses have the support they need from Congress to thrive. By reauthorizing and improving the SBDC program, the Small Business Development Centers Improvement Act will strengthen the local businesses that sustain and grow our communities.”
“During the coronavirus pandemic we have seen that when our country supports small businesses, our economy and our communities thrive. Small Business Development Centers are a critical way to provide the support and resources small businesses need, which is why I am proud to support the Small Business Development Centers Improvement Act,” said Senator Edward J. Markey.
“Nevada has no shortage of innovators, entrepreneurs, and small business owners, and I’m working every day to advocate on their behalf and ensure they have the support they need to grow and thrive,” said Senator Rosen. “That's why I’m helping introduce legislation to reauthorize the Small Business Development Centers program, which provides invaluable resources, training, and advice to those looking to start or who are currently operating a small business in our state.”
“The small business community is the heart of New Hampshire, driving economic growth and job opportunities across our communities. I’m proud to help introduce this bill to ensure small businesses have access to the wealth of resources and support available through Small Business Development Centers. From trainings on business development to advice on financial planning, these centers help small businesses stay competitive and create jobs,” said Shaheen. “As a senior member of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, I’ll continue working to secure resources that help Granite State businesses grow and innovate.”
The Small Business Development Centers Improvement Act of 2022 will make a number of updates to the SBDC program, including requiring that the SBA provide annual reports to Congress on all entrepreneurial activities and the SBDC program, and requiring SBA to assess and report on their data collecting practices. It also prohibits entities other than institutions of higher education from receiving new grants under the program, allows centers to collect fees related to private partnerships or cosponsorships, authorizes centers to market their services directly to small businesses, and modifies provisions related to program funding, operations, data collection, and reporting.
The SBDC program began in 1976 with one center at California State Polytechnic University. Today, the SBDC network is comprised of 62 lead centers, with nearly 1,000 outreach centers located nationwide. A number of the lead centers are located at Minority Serving Institutions, including HBCUs and Hispanic Serving Institutions.
The SBDC program is SBA’s largest resource partner within the entrepreneurial development programs. The centers deliver professional business advice and training focused on strategic planning, business development, financial planning, and cash flow management to small business owners. SBDCs are uniquely effective in that they are closely integrated with the local community, and are familiar with the area’s unique challenges.
In FY2021 the SBDC network served 643,144 unique clients, helped start 22,589 new businesses and supported over 2 million jobs.
This legislation is endorsed by America’s SBDC, a nationwide network of Small Business Development Centers:
"I want to thank Chairman Cardin and his colleagues for advancing this important legislation,” said America’s SBDC President and CEO Charles “Tee” Rowe. “SBDCs are helping hundreds of thousands of small businesses with cutting edge assistance, and modernizing our program is a valuable part of modernizing the whole approach to small business support and development."