Pennsylvania SBDC Receives National Accreditation from Association of Small Business Development Centers

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Pennsylvania Small Business Development Centers (SBDC) receive full accreditation of program services to support small business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs in the Keystone State.

Photo: SBA Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet presents Pennsylvania SBDC State Director Christian Conroy with the ASBDC accreditation certificate.

Small businesses create 2 out of 3 net, new jobs in the private sector, and hundreds of thousands of those jobs were created with support from Small Business Development Centers nationwide. -Maria Contreras-Sweet, SBA Administrator

The Pennsylvania Small Business Development Centers (SBDC) have been awarded full accreditation from the Association of Small Business Development Centers, the national accrediting body for Small Business Development Centers under contract from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). The Pennsylvania SBDC also received supplemental accreditation for its specialized Technology Services. The Pennsylvania SBDC is one of only 12 SBDC programs in the country to earn this supplemental technology accreditation.

SBA Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet congratulated the Pennsylvania SBDC stating “Small businesses create 2 out of 3 net, new jobs in the private sector, and hundreds of thousands of those jobs were created with support from Small Business Development Centers nationwide. Your work – day in and day out – is indispensable to America’s entrepreneurs.”

“This report is a testament to the skills and expertise of the network’s staff and the impact of their work in helping small businesses grow and prosper,” said Pennsylvania SBDC State Director Christian Conroy. “The report offers solid and strong observations of the team’s findings during their review, commendations on five program components, and several recommendations to help us in continuing to build on our long record of impressive performance,” he concluded.

“The Pennsylvania Small Business Development Center Network is commended for both its dedication and commitment to the pursuit of continuous improvement,” stated Beth Melnik, Chair of the ASBDC Accreditation Committee. “Accreditation is important for each SBDC and is essential for the national SBDC program to be recognized as a provider of high quality business education and advising that results in credible economic impact.”

This is the fifth time the Pennsylvania SBDC program has been awarded accreditation. In this year’s report, the Pennsylvania program received five commendations which highlighted best practices:

  • Hosting Grand Openings and Ribbon Cutting events for new business start-ups
  • Engaging undergraduate and graduate students in the work of the SBDC
  • Development of a comprehensive Disaster/Continuity checklist for businesses as part of its Business Continuity Services
  • Close working relationship with economic development partner organizations
  • Encouraging program recipients to inform stakeholders of the impact of SBDC services

The accreditation review process, mandated by Congress, is based on the Malcolm Baldrige Quality Program developed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology to assure that SBDC programs operate efficiently and effectively. Failure to achieve accreditation can result in the loss of federal funding.

A four-member team composed of the leaders of SBDC programs in Virginia, Maryland, Texas, and Colorado conducted the Pennsylvania SBDC review. The team assessed several areas of the program, including leadership and organizational management, the strategic planning process, client and stakeholder focus, service delivery, and program performance. These standards ensure that the public investment in the program from the federal government, the state government, and the host institutions results in strong returns for Pennsylvania’s economy.

Since its inception, the Pennsylvania SBDC has helped aspiring entrepreneurs start more than 30,000 businesses, obtain over $2.5 billion in start-up and expansion capital, and increase sales by more than $12 billion. SBDC-assisted companies reported winning over $2.5 billion in government contracts, grew their international sales by more than $1.4 billion all while creating over 140,000 jobs that generate more than $796 million in new tax revenue.

About Pennsylvania Small Business Development Centers (SBDC)
The Pennsylvania SBDC network is the only statewide, nationally accredited program that provides high quality one-on-one consulting, training and information resources to empower new and existing businesses. SBDC consultants work with entrepreneurs in confidential, individualized sessions to help them with a range of business issues including testing a new business proposition, shaping a business plan, investigating funding opportunities, and much more. The SBDC program is a public/private partnership with the U.S. Small Business Administration, the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development and 18 universities and colleges across the Commonwealth. For more information on the Pennsylvania SBDC services and impact, please visit http://www.pasbdc.org.
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Kelly Cofrancisco
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