Understanding Economic Impact

How the Pennsylvania SBDC Measures Success

Our ability to accurately measure and report economic data makes it possible to gauge the true economic impact of the Pennsylvania SBDC network and its clients on the Pennsylvania economy. Reliable reporting is vital to our network’s ability to receive the funding needed to provide no-fee consulting and low or no-cost educational programming to small businesses and entrepreneurs across Pennsylvania.

The Pennsylvania SBDC network measures its impact on factors including job creation and retention, sales increases, capital formation, new business starts and government contracts received. Economic impact data is verified and validated through a multi-step process which includes:

  • Client consulting sessions are recorded into a secure web-based client management system by the client’s SBDC business consultant, following an established process.
  • When a client reports that they have generated economic impact, it is verified in writing through client-consultant communication or through a response to the SBDC’s Annual Client Questionnaire. This process verifies the type of impact created (Jobs Created or Retained, Sales Increase, Capital Formation, New Business Started), and the role of the SBDC in facilitating that impact.
  • The Pennsylvania SBDC Lead Office reviews the economic impact recorded by network staff, flagging any entries that do not meet the network’s stringent data integrity policies.  The appropriate center staff is then contacted for further discussion, clarification and validation if needed.  Corrective measures are taken to ensure data integrity.
  • All economic impact is reported to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) on a quarterly basis, as part of our program agreement. Our host institutions and other SBDC stakeholders also receive regular summaries of our program impact.

Investing in the SBDC program provides proven and tested resources to small businesses needing to start or expand, backed by a data integrity policy with stringent oversight.