Monday, July 5, 2010

Press Release: Florida SBDC Network Receives National Accreditation

Release Date: June 28, 2010
Contact: Kelly McLeod,


Florida Small Business Development Center Network
Receives National Accreditation

Pensacola: On May 31, 2010, the Florida Small Business Development Center Network (FSBDC Network) was notified that the statewide network has received full accreditation by the national accrediting agency—the Association of Small Business Development Centers (ASBDC). Accreditation, important for the SBDC to secure continued funding by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), is also essential for the national SBDC program to be recognized as a high quality economic development organization. The ASBDC test of uniform quality delivery systems ensures that the federal government, host institutions and the state, each as funding partners, support programs with demonstrated effectiveness, efficiency and success in counseling and training entrepreneurs and small business owners/managers—Florida’s major economic driver.

Mike Young, Chair of the ASBDC Accreditation Committee, said, "I want to congratulate you and your staff for achieving this important milestone. I recognize that considerable effort over a long period of time has gone into attaining the goal of accreditation. You and your staff have achieved much during the process, and the Florida SBDC Network is commended for its success."

Among the noteworthy programs and processes of the FSBDC Network, the statewide marketing plan and branding standards that ensure a statewide image, and the professional development and certification process that ensures a common body of knowledge and standards of performance for the diverse group of professionals received commendation as best practices. The Network’s use of the Sterling Navigator and the passion shown by FSBDC Network professionals to meet and address the needs of its client base also received further commendation.

State Director Jerry Cartwright said, "This is a long, but extremely important process, as it is imperative for our continued funding and the Network’s movement toward achieving a world-class delivery system for sustaining small business development and survivability in today’s rocky environment." Jerry said further that "the accreditation report serves as our roadmap for driving continuous improvements in the both the management systems and processes of the SBDC Network."

In its 34th year of operation, the FSBDC Network is one of eight original SBDC pilot programs funded by the SBA. The program successfully links resources of the federal, state and local governments with the state's education system and the private sector to aid in the development and education of Florida's entrepreneurs and small business community. Designated as Florida’s Principal Provider of Business Assistance by state statute, the statewide FSBDC Network, with 36 locations from Pensacola to Key West, has the integrated infrastructure of professionals and partners needed to successfully serve Florida’s business community. In 2008, the Florida legislature added the administrative responsibilities to the FSBDC Network for the State of Florida Small Business Advocate and Small Business Regulatory Advisory Council, programs modeled specifically to address the burden and economic impact of state rules and regulations on the state’s small business community.

In 2009, Florida’s SBDCs directly attributed to helping their clients open 824 new businesses; create or retain 14,550 jobs; secure contract awards worth $375 million; acquire $60 million in capital for business formation and expansion; and enjoy sales growth worth $212 million. Since 1980, the FSBDC Network has assisted more than 3.7 million entrepreneurs and small business owners statewide, fostering the creation and retention of 312,964 Florida jobs. No other publicly-funded program undergoes the annual accountability examinations and review that SBDCs receive to ensure management strength, financial accountability and economic impact.

The FSBDC Network, a statewide service network of 36 centers, is funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration, hosted by the University of West Florida and accredited through the national Association of SBDCs. For 34 years, the Network has nourished a statewide partnership between higher education and economic development organizations and has been dedicated to providing emerging and established business owners with assistance, enabling overall growth and increased profitability for the businesses and economic prosperity for the state. To learn more about the FSBDC Network or to find an SBDC near you, visit or call 1.866.737.7232 or 850.473.7800.

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