Let’s say you’ve just come up with a great new kind of ice cream. You’ve bought the ingredients in bulk, you have the ice cream maker, and you have cartons with an attractive design that will make people want to buy your ice cream. Everyone who tastes it says it’s great, and it’ll surely be a hit. The problem is, your skill is making ice cream, not running a small business.
One of the challenges with starting and running a small business is that a lack of guidance and business experience can hinder the business’s ability to succeed. Often, small businesses are run by people whose skills are specific to the service they offer or products they manufacture, and not by savvy businesspeople.
To help these businesses, the Small Business Administration runs Small Business Development Centers. SBDCs help small business and entrepreneurs with free business consulting and low-cost training services including business plan development, manufacturing assistance, financial packaging and lending assistance, exporting and importing support, disaster recovery assistance, procurement and contracting aid, market research help, 8(a) program support, and healthcare guidance. SBDCs are hosted by universities and state economic development agencies, and funded through a partnership with SBA.
Now on PolicyMap, you can see where these SBDCs are. For policymakers, it might be helpful to see where these SBDC services are being offered, as they might create clusters of successful small businesses. Alternatively, it might be useful to see what places lack easy access to an SBDC, as these areas might be good candidates for some sort of assistance for small businesses.
These points are free for all users and are in the “Federal Guidelines” menu on PolicyMap.