Today, U.S. Senator Jim Risch (R-ID) and U.S. Representative Steve Chabot (R-OH), chairmen of the Senate and House Small Business Committees, introduced bipartisan, bicameral legislation to improve cybersecurity resources for small businesses. The Small Business Development Center (SBDC) Cyber Training Act will be a priority in each respective committee. Senate Small Business Committee Ranking Member Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Senators Gary Peters (D-MI), John Kennedy (R-LA), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) and Representative Dwight Evans (D-PA) are original cosponsors of the bill.

“Entrepreneurs – particularly in rural areas – depend on online sales and marketing to commercialize their businesses, leaving them incredibly vulnerable to cyber risks,” said Chairman Risch. “With many small businesses unable to recover after suffering a cyber-attack, it is incredibly important that we address this threat head on.”

“Many small business owners lack the capital and expertise they need to prevent a cybersecurity attack. Unfortunately, one simple hit can destroy everything a small business owner has created. That’s why we need to ensure small businesses have access to the best cybersecurity resources and information possible. Providing cybersecurity training to lead small business development center employees will broaden their expertise to help more small businesses prevent an attack and potentially help save their companies,” said Chairman Chabot. 

“Small businesses create two out of every three new jobs in our country each year, and they need the right tools and skills to identify cyber threats and protect their customers and their livelihoods,” said Senator Peters. “I’m pleased to support this bipartisan bill, which builds on efforts to educate business owners on ways to improve cyber defenses so that small businesses can focus on what they do best: creating jobs, fostering economic growth and driving innovation.”

“Our small business owners and entrepreneurs are the engines that drive people to live, grow and succeed in our neighborhoods. We know that our small business community faces increasing cyber threats in our ever changing and evolving global economy. I am proud to join with my colleagues in the House and Senate to introduce bipartisan legislation that equips our small business owners and entrepreneurs with the resources they need to keep their businesses safe, secure and protected. Our small businesses depend on the essential resources that our Small Business Development Centers (SBDC) provide and I will continue to set forth legislation that allows our small businesses and SBDC’s to continue to thrive and prosper,” said Rep. Evans.

The SBDC Cyber Training Act would require a portion of SBDC employees to become certified in cyber strategy counseling, a method proven effective for export trade counseling. Without costing taxpayers more money, the Act would utilize already existing Small Business Administration (SBA) education programs to provide cyber strategy training to SBDC employees. Relying on the SBA’s expertise in training small businesses, the Act allows that agency to come up with new programming and to certify existing cyber education at SBDCs.