Small Business Development Centers: Challanges and Opportunities
The nationwide network of Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs) provides training and assistance to small businesses and nascent entrepreneurs. The academic research to date indicates that SBDCs have a positive impact on national and regional economies and are cost efficient in accomplishing their mission. Other evidence, however, suggests that SBDCs are currently facing severe challenges that threaten their continued success. We provide evidence on the scope and severity of these challenges based on the responses of a random sample of SBDC directors. We find that the most pressing issues are funding, attracting and retaining competent counselors, inability to meet demand, obtrusive oversight from the Small Business Administration (SBA) and host institutions, target market problems, and outcome assessment. We offer suggestions for opportunities to resolve some of the issues noted.
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