Wednesday, March 17, 2021, is national SBDC Day which recognizes the impact of America’s Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs) on the success of our nation’s dreamers, innovators, and doers – America’s small businesses. Here’s a little history lesson. In 1980, President Jimmy Carter signed legislation that enacted the Small Business Development Centers program into law. Utah was one of the first 18 states to start an SBDC network. Yet, after 41 years of being hosted at many of Utah’s colleges and universities, we still hear all too often, “You’re the best-kept secret in Utah”.
Over these 41 years, the Utah SBDC network has become 15 centers, hired hundreds of professional business consultants, and has been financially supported by the U.S. Small Business Administration, the State of Utah, various local governments, and our host institutions of higher education. This is why the SBDC provides no-cost, one-on-one business consulting and other programs. Most of our expert consultants came from the private sector where they were small business owners, operated companies, were C-level corporate officers, CPAs, CMAs, attorneys, bankers, and many other experts in their fields and industries.
Since 1980, business owners of all sizes and types have taken advantage of this “secret” resource - from single owner-operator companies to multi-generation well-known businesses; from home-based internet sales companies to high-value high-tech businesses, and everything in between. Our expert consultants have spent many thousands of hours annually helping clients establish and operate their businesses, raise many millions of dollars in new capital and revenue growth, showing them how to market their products and services, training them to set up budgets, and manage their finances, counseling them on hiring and retaining employees, advising them on exporting and importing, etc. We’ve gathered market research, helped create business plans and models, projected future cash flows, and trained them on numerous business topics. And, though we are not social workers, we’ve given many over-burdened, stressed-out business owners our empathy, encouragement, reassurance, and hope as they’ve waded through their challenges.
For 41 years, the Utah SBDC network has been the “boots on the ground” helping small businesses throughout the whole state. Unfortunately, most small businesses and future entrepreneurs still do not know about this “best-kept secret” in Utah.
So, on National SBDC Day, or the next time you meet someone that operates a small business or wants to start one, ask them “Do you know the best-kept secret in Utah”? Chances are they don’t. Then reveal to them the “best-kept secret” in all of Utah and take a bow. You’ve done a good deed.