What is an SBDC


What is a Small Business Development Center (SBDC)?

An SBDC is the primary source of technical and managerial assistance for small businesses in the Western Hemisphere. The mission of an SBDC is to promote the sustained growth, innovation, productivity, and profitability for small businesses through improvements in their business management.

The SBDC model is the only proven methodology for growing the national micro, small and medium-sized enterprise (MSME) sector in a measurable, efficient, and sustainable manner and on a scale that matters.

With over 40 years of success, the SBDC model is the world’s premier, cost-effective and sustainable infrastructure proven to generate small business success. This methodology empowers entrepreneurs to realize their dream of business ownership. It also helps existing small businesses create long-term growth and build global competitiveness.  

 SBDC life bus2


What Makes the SBDC Model Different?
  • Focuses on providing no-cost, one-on-one, confidential, and long-term advising for massive numbers of small businesses.
  • Assists business owners from initial start-up to high-growth established business operations.
  • Creates a culture of constant measurement and continuous improvement for all program services.
  • The SBDC methodology is driven by economic impact generation, not activities.
  • SBDCs succeed in all market contexts. The methodology is simple, flexible, and SBDC services and operations can be adapted to local market needs.


Why Countries Should Adapt the SBDC Model?
  • The only proven methodology: Grows the national MSME sector in a measurable, efficient, and sustainable manner and on a scale that matters.
  • Creates measurable and tangible results: Other methodologies focus on activities. Impact for the MSME sector includes business starts and expansions, jobs created and saved, increased sales, exports, and financing.
  • Focuses on long-term growth and competitiveness: SBDCs assist entrepreneurs from start-up and formalization stages to established business operations to high-growth gazelles that can span many years.
  • SBDCs serve massive numbers of small business clients and are accessible to everyone: One SBDC advisor can assist hundreds of small businesses each year, which broadens the client base while maximizing coverage and results simultaneously.
  • Market driven: The need to create economic impact results drive SBDCs to continuously improve and optimize their service mix, quality, relevance, and responsiveness which improves the customer experience.
  • The SBDC methodology can be applied to multiple use cases: The methodology can be used for formalization efforts, rural development, government contracting, internationalization, technology commercialization, and for specific sectors.
  • Simple, flexible and can be adapted to local needs: SBDCs have the capacity to adapt their services according to the economic and social needs of the context in which they are located. This allows for services to be offered which are relevant to the MSME sector served.
  • Reduces small business assistance program fragmentation: SBDCs require the triple helix of the public, academic, and private sectors to collaborate and jointly invest in the SBDCs. This guarantees the sustainability of the program while eliminating inefficiencies and duplication of efforts.
  • Positive return on investment: SBDCs help small businesses formalize and generate significant amounts of economic impact that results in increased government tax revenues. Over time, these revenues will exceed the cost of the program, benefiting all stakeholders and justifying the continuity of SBDCs over time and through multiple election spans.
  • Home-grow the small business sector: The micro, small and medium-sized businesses are the economic engine and job-creator for any market economy. Small businesses drive innovation and inclusive growth. SBDCs fit within a broader national economic development policy that creates employment and opportunity for its citizens.
  • Internationalize and innovate together: Another tremendous benefit of the SBDC model is the opportunity to link clients to trade, investment, and technology commercialization opportunities within the global SBDC network.
  • Become a part of the SBDC family: Despite being in different countries, all SBDCs operate and function in a very similar manner. The shared SBDC operating system facilitates knowledge transfer and learning between SBDC centers and professionals.