WHO WE ARE
Small Business Development Centers have been around since President Carter's Administration and are a program of the Small Business Administration, primarily funded by federal and dwindling state dollars as well as economic development type grants. The concept was to be a resource for information and expertise to help small businesses help themselves whether they were established or just starting up. In California there are 35 SBDC's and the in the NorCal region -- representing the northwestern area of the state from Del Norte County to Santa Cruz--there are 10 centers. When you include the outreach sites that those 35 centers serve, more than 100 communities statewide have direct access to SBDC services (30 of those communities are served with in the NorCal region). In the Bay Area, there are centers in San Francisco, one in Oakland and another in San Jose. For a complete listing of those go to our website, www.norcalsbdc.org. The centers leverage partnerships with entities ranging from workforce development and education to government, to assist businesses.
WHAT WE DO
Workshops and Counseling: Individual centers have small staffs with dynamic past entrepreneurial backgrounds with general have expertise needed to help small businesses answer start-up questions, build business plans, navigate the process for accessing SBA or other business loans, bookkeeping and marketing basics. Centers provide free one-on-one business counseling, to help the business owner determine what is needed to survive, grow and thrive. SBDC business clients work with one or more business advisors to achieve a variety of goals: securing patents for intellectual property, launching upgraded websites, successfully bidding on contracts with federal or state government, financial analysis and restructuring of debt and many other projects. Common to all NorCal SBDC consulting is the focus on making a tangible, measurable economic impact on the business with every client served.
SBDC evening classes, half-day training events and other workshops aim at giving existing business owners a “quick hit” of information in a short amount of time that can easily be incorporated into their businesses. Presented by industry experts, NorCal SBDC trainings and classes range in topic from Greening Your Business, and Selling to the Government to How Online Networking Helps Your Business and Supply Chain Management.
Anyone with a small business (defined by the SBA as a business with less than 500 employees) can access SBDC services. Centers are communities of innovation that also provide entrepreneurs access to others experiencing the same challenges and issues and who understand how owning a small business can become an all-consuming and isolating endeavor. While all client information is strictly confidential, Small Business Development Centers are spaces of camaraderie and shared success.
Click here to view our Economic Impact report.