Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Small Business Development Center (SBDC)?

The Pennsylvania Small Business Development Center, or SBDC, provides no-cost confidential consulting and low cost training in proven management fundamentals helping small business owners and potential entrepreneurs make sound decisions for the successful operation of their business. There are 18 Centers located throughout Pennsylvania. Find your local SBDC to start receiving consulting and low cost training.

How can the SBDC help someone just thinking of starting a business?

The SBDC offers Entrepreneurial Assessment, Pre-Business and Business Planning seminars for those individuals who want general information on starting a business, or who are in the initial start-up phase. SBDC consultants can then help you with the details of turning your plan into a successful reality.

Do you have to be in business to use the services of the Small Business Development Center?

No. You only have to be considering the idea of opening a business or researching the feasibility of a proposed profit-making venture.

My business has been established for some time. How can the SBDC help me?

The SBDC provides an array of consulting services to established businesses including one-on-one consulting in business planning, marketing and promotion, financial analysis, accounting, record keeping, human resources, strategic planning, new market diversification, and other areas. In addition, the procurement technical assistance program is available for companies that want to bid on government contracts and international trade specialists are available to consult with firms that want to enter into or expand in the global marketplace. The Environmental Management Assistance Program provides improvements to your bottom line through pollution prevention, energy efficiency and strategic environmental management. Technology commercialization assistance is available to high growth and technology firms with sophisticated business management issues. The Pennsylvania SBDC are ready to help businesses in all stages with a variety of issues.

Can I get help from the SBDC if my business is set up as a not-for-profit business?

Because of the SBDC's funding guidelines, the Pennsylvania Small Business Development Centers are not able to assist businesses that are established as not-for-profit.

What can I expect from my Pennsylvania SBDC consultant?

At your initial meeting, your consultant will review your business needs or proposal, determine a course of action and identify areas that both of you will be responsible for completing. Your consultant will then follow up with an engagement letter detailing your meeting and listing the items that both of you will be working on, along with an estimated time frame for completion and anticipated outcomes. 

Does the Pennsylvania SBDC charge for its services?

The management and technical assistance services are provided at no charge to the client. Nominal fees are generally charged for training seminars and special events.

Who pays for the SBDC program?

The SBDC is part of a state-wide network of colleges and university centers which is a joint venture of federal, state, and private sector agencies and organizations including the US Small Business Administration and the Pennsylvania Department of Community & Economic Development. Each agency, along with the host university or college, contributes to the financial support of the program. Learn more about the Pennsylvania SBDC funding partners.

Notice to all SBDC Clients

The Funding support and resources are provided by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania through the Department of Community and Economic Development; through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration, and through support from our College and University hosts. 

All services are extended to the public on a non-discriminatory basis.  Language assistance services are available for limited English proficient individuals. Special arrangements for persons with disabilities can be made by calling the Center at least two weeks in advance. 

All opinions, conclusions or recommendations expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the SBA. SBDC services are not available to individuals or entities that have been debarred or suspended by the federal government.  By agreeing to receive assistance from the SBDC you are self-certifying that you are not currently federally debarred or suspended and also agree to cease using SBDC services if you become federally debarred or suspended in the future.