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Small Business Development Center

About the SBDC

The Florida Small Business Development Center at the University of North Florida (Florida SBDC at UNF) provides management assistance and training to any prospective or existing small-business owner in North Florida (Alachua, Baker, Bradford, Clay, Citrus, Columbia, Dixie, Duval, Gilchrist, Hamilton, Lafayette, Levy, Marion, Nassau, Putnam, St. Johns, Suwannee and Union 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 North Florida, and state colleges.

With funding from the U.S. Small Business Administration, the University of North Florida, the City of Jacksonville, the Clay County Chamber of Commerce, Marion County, Nassau County, St. Johns County, Putnam County, Suwannee County, and other public and private sector sources, the Florida SBDC at UNF is able to provide its management assistance services at little or no charge to the client.

Additional management assistance resources funded by the SBA include SCORE® Counselors to America’s Small Business and the Jacksonville Women’s Business Center. An additional resource is Jax Small Biz Help which is a one-stop-shop of organizations in the North Florida area that provide assistance to small business owners.

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). Yet small business owners face some tough challenges. The primary causes of small business failure are undercapitalization and management inexperience. If small businesses are the engine driving our economy, we can’t afford to have them stall. As a result, Congress created the Small Business Development Center program in 1980 to provide this much-needed management assistance that many small businesses could not afford in the private sector. The Florida SBDC at UNF actually started in 1976 as part of an eight-state pilot program, giving it the distinction of being one of the longest-running SBDC programs in the nation.

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 getting started 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 STARTUP basics, to marketing, accounting/record keeping, financing, 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 plan’s 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.

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Impact of the SBDC

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 $60 is returned in the form of tax revenue. Not a bad Return on Investment! The SBDC at the University of North Florida carefully tracks its own Economic Impact and documents Success Stories.