Senator Coons and colleagues introduce bill to reauthorize and improve the Small Business Development Center program

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WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Chris Coons (D-Del.) and six of his colleagues introduced the Small Business Development Centers Improvement Act, legislation that would reauthorize and improve the U.S. Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Small Business Development Center (SBDC) program.

“I am thankful for the invaluable assistance that Small Business Development Centers have provided to Delaware’s more than 88,000 small businesses and countless similar companies across the country,” said Senator Coons. “After seeing firsthand the difficulties Delaware’s small businesses have faced since the COVID-19 pandemic, and the resilience of their workers, I’m more committed than ever to ensuring these businesses have the support they need from Congress to thrive. By reauthorizing and improving the SBDC program, the Small Business Development Centers Improvement Act will strengthen the local businesses that sustain and grow our communities.”

In addition to Senator Coons, the legislation was cosponsored by U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship Chair Ben Cardin (D-Md.) as well as U.S. Senators Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), Edward Markey (D-Mass.), Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.), and Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.).

“The Small Business Development Centers program is a large piece of the SBA’s entrepreneurial development ecosystem. SBDCs support our small business owners through a myriad of challenges and help small businesses grow,” said Senator Cardin. “It is essential that we give SBDCs our full support. I am proud to work with my colleagues on the Small Business Committee to introduce this critical legislation, empowering our SBDCs and the entrepreneurs they guide along the way.”

“Reauthorization and freshening of the national SBDC program are essential to sustain SBDC services to small businesses especially challenged from the pandemic, higher costs, and workforce and supply chain shortages,” said Michael Bowman, State Director of Delaware’s SBDC program.

In September, Senator Coons introduced legislation to help small businesses hire new employees and support aspiring entrepreneurs with the Supporting Small Business Career and Technical Education Act. In the same month, Senator Coons introduced another bill to ensure small businesses have access to low-cost, fixed-rate, long-term loans with the 504 Loan Availability Act.

Since the program’s inception almost four decades ago, SBDCs in Delaware have created over 4,230 new jobs and 1,400 new businesses. Since 2010, SBDCs have raised $267 million in capital, as well. Nationwide, the SBDC network is comprised of 62 lead centers and nearly 1,000 outreach centers. The centers deliver professional business advice and training focused on strategic planning, business development, financial planning, and cash flow management to small business owners. SBDCs are uniquely effective in that they are closely integrated with local communities and familiar with their unique challenges. Notably, a number of the lead centers are located at Minority Serving Institutions, including HBCUs and Hispanic Serving Institutions. The SBDC program is SBA’s largest resource partner within the entrepreneurial development programs.