[Pensacola, Fla.] – The Florida Small Business Development Center (SBDC) Network is celebrating the fifth annual national SBDC Day today, March 17, 2021. SBDC Day is a celebration of the success and impact of America’s SBDCs, the U.S. Small Business Administration’s (SBA) largest business assistance program.
With nearly 1,000 locations across the country, SBDCs are in every community providing local businesses and entrepreneurs with the resources needed to succeed. America’s SBDCs provide measurable economic results – in 2020 SBDCs helped generate; 91,767 jobs, $7 billion in sales growth; $6 billion in capital investments; and started 20,374 new businesses.
Celebrating its 45th anniversary this year, the Florida SBDC Network is the state’s principal provider of small business assistance. What once began as one man at the University of West Florida overseeing two centers in Northwest Florida, has grown to a vibrant statewide partnership of more than 40 centers and over 250 employees providing tools, training, and expertise to thousands of Florida’s small businesses each year.
As part of its service offering, the Florida SBDC Network helps small businesses understand and apply for disaster assistance. Since March 2020, the network has helped small businesses secure more than $219 million in state and federal disaster loans, including the Paycheck Protection Program, the Economic Injury Disaster Loan, and the Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan.
As a result, the Florida SBDC Network has experienced a 29 percent increase in consulting hours delivered, a 47 percent increase in businesses served, and a 144 percent increase in appointment requests.
The network continues to work with small businesses to help them navigate the long-term challenges of the virus, including reinvigorating marketing strategies, reviewing financials, and helping them become stronger and more resilient.
“Florida’s 2.7 million small businesses are vital to our economy, yet they are facing unprecedented challenges due to the coronavirus,” said Dr. Cheryl Kirby, interim CEO of the Florida SBDC Network. “Now more than ever, small businesses need our help. This SBDC Day, we’re proud to celebrate the success and impact SBDCs have made in helping small businesses access the resources and expertise they need to survive the pandemic.”
To learn more about SBDC Day and to join the celebration, please visit http://floridasbdc.org/national-sbdc-day.