The Florida Small Business Development Center at the University of West Florida (Florida SBDC at UWF) provides management assistance and training to any prospective or existing small-business owner in Northwest Florida, including Escambia, Santa Rosa, Okaloosa, Walton, Bay, Holmes, Washington, Gulf, Calhoun, and Jackson counties.
The Florida SBDC Network is state designated as Florida’s Principal Provider of Business Assistance [§ 288.001, Fla. Stat.] and recognized as Florida’s “premier source” for business assistance. With this assistance, clients can become more successful and, in turn, contribute positively to the area’s economic growth and stability. More than 35 SBDC offices operate in Florida from Key West to Pensacola under the guidance of seven state universities, including the University of West Florida, and state colleges.
Why The SBDC?
More than 90 percent of all businesses in the U.S. are small. Small businesses are truly the backbone of our economy, employing more than 60 percent of all workers and creating 80 percent of all new jobs. For more stats on the importance of small business, check out the U.S. Small Business Administration website www.sba.gov. Small business owners face some tough challenges. The primary root causes of small business failure are undercapitalization and management inexperience. If small businesses are the engine driving our economy, we can’t afford to let them stall. As a result, Congress created the Small Business Development Center program in 1980 to provide this much-needed management assistance many small businesses could not afford in the private sector.
How Can The SBDC Help?
SBDC programs deliver up-to-date management advice, training, and information to help business owners make sound decisions and to assist potential owners in starting on the right foot.
Start-up assistance begins with a menu of SBDC workshops. Practical, convenient, concise, and affordable; these group training programs cover topics from Starting a Business basics, to marketing, accounting/record keeping, financing, human resources, and taxes.
Business plan assistance walks start-ups and existing business owners through the process using tools and templates designed to get your plan down on paper. Review of draft business plans and feedback on the plans strengths and weaknesses is just one of the consulting services available in the SBDC at no charge.
One of the critical issues potential and existing business owners face is financing the start up or growth of a business. Access to capital is part of the consulting process our consultants provide to our clients.
The SBDC offers existing business owners interested in reviewing strategic business processes, increasing sales and/or improving the bottom line access to the latest information needed to succeed, including market data, financial analysis, business planning tools, and specialized programs. Plus, proven strategies to help grow your business, including government contracting services and international trade consulting.
Does the SBDC Work?
The SBDC’s performance is assessed based on the economic impact its customers achieve. Surveys consistently show that businesses assisted by the SBDC outperform non-assisted businesses, creating three times more jobs and increasing sales three times faster. For every federal dollar invested in the SBDC program, nearly $57 is returned in the form of tax revenue. Not a bad Return on Investment! The University of West Florida carefully tracks its own Economic Impact and documents Success Stories.