Governor Dannel P. Malloy, joined by Small Business Administration (SBA) Associate Administrator for the Office of Capital Access Jeanne A. Hulit, Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD) Commissioner Catherine Smith, University of Connecticut Vice President of Economic Development Mary Holz--Clause, and Business Council of Fairfield County President and CEO Chris Bruhl, today launched the state's newest economic development tool, the Small Business Development Center (SBDC).
The SBDC is a partnership between state and federal government, the MetroChambers of Commerce, and higher education institutions that will provide financial and technical assistance to businesses with 500 or fewer employees.
"The reinvigorated Small Business Development Center takes our economic development strategy to a new level, combining the academic strength and resources of our flagship university with the knowledge and reach of our chambers of commerce, to bring technical and financial assistance to the sector responsible for the overwhelming majority of our jobs: small businesses," said Governor Malloy. "When we talk about building a new partnership between state government and the business community, this is exactly what we mean."
"I am delighted by the generous commitment that the State of Connecticut has made to support the Small Business Development Center at the University of Connecticut," said the SBA Associate Administrator Hulit. "In this critical time, when job creation is on everyone's mind, the partnership between the SBA and its state partners is more important than ever."
Funding for the 5-year $11.6 million program is split between a Small Business Administration (SBA) grant and a matching grant from DECD, with additional financial and technical resources coming from UConn and the MetroChambers of Commerce. Sixteen full-time positions and two part-time positions will be created at the 11 SBDC service centers, which include seven chambers of commerce, five regional UConn campuses, and the Department of Commerce Export Assistance Center in Middletown.
"With the passage of the Governor's Jobs Bill in October 2011, we deployed a full spectrum of innovative assistance programs to businesses across the state. Small businesses account for about 93 percent of Connecticut employers--it is critical that we work to strengthen our delivery of the many programs and services available to them and help them bolster their competitiveness," said Commissioner Smith. "The SBDC integrates the state's economic development efforts into a unified, agile, and responsive team that is focused on identifying and responding to the needs of our private sector partners."
Now based at UConn in Storrs and led by Holz-Clause and Bruhl, the SBDC is boosting small businesses across the state with initiatives like the School of Business' Family Business Program and the Technology Incubation Program. The Center has cut administrative costs, added more counselors, and is using technology to boost efficiency and help small business strengthen marketing efforts.
"This partnership is a perfect fit for us--it builds on existing strengths and allows us to connect with exciting new programs within the business community," said UConn Vice President for Economic Development Holz-Clause. "UConn is committed to being a part of the state's economic revitalization."
"The new SBDC will offer a slate of innovative services, increase our interconnectedness with state businesses, and, like many private sector businesses, do more with less," Bruhl said. "With a statewide network of 11 local SBDC offices, the Center strives to build the local ecosystem, recognizing that small business begins at the local level."
Business retention and creation activities have jumped sharply since January 2011. In the eight years between 2002 and 2010, 118 companies were assisted. In the past 25 months under the Governor's administration, 652 companies have been assisted--companies that will retain over 26,783 jobs and create up to 10,084 new ones.