It would be nice to believe that with Rick Perry dropping out of the GOP primary last week that the idea he floated earlier this month in South Carolina of killing off the Small Business Administration would itself be killed off. But that’s not going to happen.
There are still too many politicians willing to sacrifice one of the only federal agencies charged with providing services to small business for the goal of deficit reduction. And there are too many small business owners siding with the SBA-bashers because they have no clue as to the services of the SBA and the Small Business Development Centers (SBDC) if funds.
So here is a primer on the SBDC in South Carolina. It is a statewide network of 17 local centers promoting economic development through business consultation to new entrepreneurs and existing small businesses. The program is supported with federal, state, local and private funds and is open to any present or prospective small business owner generally fee free. As one of the few state supported efforts to help small businesses grow and prosper, the SBDC sees upwards of 3,500 entrepreneurs and current small business owners a year.
Nationwide it is the same positive story. The country has 900 local SBDC’s that provided services to over a half million entrepreneurs and small businesses in 2010. SBDCs help those thinking about starting a business or needing help in applying for a loan as well as working with existing small businesses wanting to find new markets or trying to right-size in the face of a bad economy.
Talk at the federal or state levels of ending the SBA or under funding the SBDC is economic development foolishness for those saying they want to create or save jobs. We should be expanding the SBDC’s ability to serve our state’s small businesses and that’s why the South Carolina Small Business Chamber of Commerce supports our SBDC’s budget request of $520,000.