As a client of the Pennsylvania Small Business Development Centers, you have the right to expect the following out of your consulting engagement.

Consulting Assistance Provided at No Charge

Because the SBDC program is supported by funding from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), the Pennsylvania Department of Community & Economic Development (DCED), host institutions and other funders, consulting is provided to you at no charge. However, SBDC capacity is limited and business consultants are only able to work with a set number of clients at any one time.

Personalized Approach

Request consulting with an SBDC consultant who will work to understand your needs, access SBDC services, and develop a customized work plan. SBDC consultants do not do the work for you, they provide guidance, information, advice and resources that you, the business owner, need to successfully manage and grow your business.

Confidentiality of Information Provided

All SBDC representatives agree to abide by the Pennsylvania SBDC’s Code of Professional Conduct. Information you provide will be held in strictest confidence and will not be released to any parties outside of the Pennsylvania SBDC network without your prior approval.

Non-Disclosure of Trade Secrets

Sensitive trade secrets pertaining to unique facts of your business will not be used to benefit another client of the SBDC or any SBDC representative. SBDC clients understand that it is their responsibility to inform the SBDC of any such trade secrets.

Assistance, Guidance and Education

The SBDC program is an educational program. The SBDC will work with you on your specific issues to help build your management skills and knowledge. It is your responsibility to accept and implement recommendations. The SBDC will not negotiate on your behalf, write your business plan or act as an employee of your business.

Professional Advice

SBDC staff are experienced business management advisors. Many possess first-hand business experience and hold advanced degrees in business management, law, engineering and have helped thousands of small business owners launch and grow their businesses.


Participating in Surveys

Because this program cares about the quality of services provided, and because it is primarily funded with public support, the SBDC undertakes a number of initiatives to ascertain the quality and impact of services provided to you. Your candid feedback is critical to the long-term success of the Pennsylvania SBDC. You will be asked to participate in an annual client questionnaire sent at/near the end of the calendar year. Your consultant will provide you with a link upon request.

Informing Legislators About Your Service

Consulting services are provided at no charge to you because of the financial support of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), the Pennsylvania Department of Community & Economic Development (DCED), host institutions and other funders. To ensure the SBDC program will be able to sustain its program into the future, we ask that you to write to your legislators to let them know about your experience with the program. To find your legislator, visit the Pennsylvania General Assembly and enter your business address.

Accepting Responsibility and Waiving all Claims

In recognition that you are ultimately responsible for the success or failure of your business and that all decisions pertaining to implementing plans and operating your business are solely your responsibility, you agree to waive any claims of damages against the Pennsylvania Small Business Development Centers and the Pennsylvania SBDC program, the U.S. Small Business Administration, and the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development, based on any advice or information provided by the SBDC.


The Pennsylvania SBDC cannot loan money to businesses or start-ups. However, the network partners with lending institutions across the state, and advisors can identify funding opportunities and help you prepare for applications.

We are mandated to work only with for-profit companies, but everyone is welcome to join us for relevant workshops.

Due to our cooperative agreement with the SBA, the PASBDC cannot assist clients who engage in the sale and possession of marijuana. 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.

During 2021, the PASBDC assisted in nearly 700 BUSINESS STARTS, served nearly 15,000 CLIENTS, and supported over 71,000 SMALL BUSINESS JOBS.

Source: Pennsylvania SBDC 2021 Annual Report