Florida SBDC Network Celebrates 40 Years of Helping State’s Small Businesses

State's Principal Provider of Business Assistance Commemorates Four Decades of Helping Small Businesses Grow and Succeed in 2016

FSBDCN State Office (Pensacola, Fla.) - Red, white and blue may be the colors comprising the Florida SBDC Network brand, however the network is celebrating another color this year: ruby. In 2016, the Florida SBDC Network is celebrating 40 years of helping the state's small businesses grow and succeed.

In 1976, the Florida SBDC Network was funded by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) as one of eight original SBDC pilot programs in the country. Originating as one man at the University of West Florida overseeing two centers in Northwest Florida and serving a handful of clients, the Florida SBDC Network has since grown to become the largest SBDC in the country, with over 40 centers and nearly 250 employees providing tools, training, and expertise to thousands of Florida's entrepreneurs and small business owners annually.

Economic Impact

Since its inception, the Florida SBDC Network has assisted over 1.1 million emerging and growing businesses through consulting, training, and information. In addition to the Florida SBDC's core service offering, the network also provides specialized services for businesses seeking growth opportunities, including Growth Acceleration, International Trade, Government Contracting, Capital Access, and Business Continuation.

As the only statewide provider of entrepreneurial and business development services, the Florida SBDC Network plays a vital role in Florida's economic development by assisting entrepreneurs in every stage of the business life cycle. In 2014, the initiatives of the Florida SBDC Network resulted in 42,664 jobs created, retained and saved; $5.8 billion in sales growth; $140.2 million in capital accessed; $210.2 million in government contract awards; and 952 new businesses started.

Network of Partners

State designated as "Florida's Principal Provider of Business Assistance" [§ 288.001, Fla. Stat.], the Florida SBDC Network serves all 67 Florida counties - from Pensacola to Key West. Headquartered at the University of West Florida in Pensacola, the Florida SBDC Network partners with Florida's state universities, colleges, and other economic development organizations to assist small and medium-sized business, regardless of industry.

"Our forty year story chronicles the commitment of our federal and state policymakers, college and university officials, private and public sector partners, dedicated personnel, and our small business clients," said Michael Myhre, CEO and Network State Director for the Florida SBDC. "Our celebration this year commemorates the small business owners and entrepreneurs we serve and our strategic, host, and funding partners who make our work possible."

Celebration in 2016

In celebration of the network's anniversary, the Florida SBDC Network has launched a special anniversary microsite. The microsite recalls the network's history and hosts a collection of stories of support and passion for small businesses and the Florida SBDC Network from partners, employees, and advocates. During the year, Florida SBDCs will host a number of events around the state, including a special anniversary celebration during the national association of SBDCs' annual conference - the 36th Annual America's SBDC Conference.

Small businesses, partners, and supporters are encouraged to join the Florida SBDC Network's 40th anniversary celebration online and in their community by visiting www.FloridaSBDC.org/40th.

Florida SBDC Network Celebrates 40 Years of Helping Small Businesses