Government and Politics
December 3, 2022
Washington (December 2, 2022) – Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) joined Senator Mazie K. Hirono (D-Hawai'i), member of the Senate Committee on Small Business & Entrepreneurship, introduced the Small Business Development Centers Improvement Act of 2022. The legislation, led by Chairman Ben Cardin (D-Md.), aims to reauthorize and improve the U.S. Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Small Business Development Centers (SBDC) Program.
“Small Business Development Centers provide much needed counseling and support to business owners and entrepreneurs in Hawaii and throughout the nation,” said Senator Hirono. “In 2021 alone, Hawaii SBDC helped small business owners create over 500 jobs and start more than 70 local businesses, strengthening our economy and our communities. SBDCs play an important role in providing the resources businesses need to succeed. As a member of the Senate Small Business Committee, I will continue working to support local businesses and entrepreneurs in Hawaii and across the country.”
The Small Business Development Centers Improvement Act of 2022 will make a number of updates to the SBDC program, including requiring that the SBA provide annual reports to Congress on all entrepreneurial activities and the SBDC program, and requiring SBA to assess and report on their data collecting practices. It also prohibits entities other than institutions of higher education from receiving new grants under the program, allows centers to collect fees related to private partnerships or cosponsorships, authorizes centers to market their services directly to small businesses, and modifies provisions related to program funding, operations, data collection, and reporting.
The SBDC program began in 1976 with one center at California State Polytechnic University. Today, the SBDC network is comprised of 62 lead centers, with nearly 1,000 outreach centers located nationwide – including centers on Kauai, Oahu, Maui, and Hawaii Island. A number of the lead centers are located at Minority Serving Institutions, including HBCUs, Hispanic-Serving Institutions, Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander-Serving Institutions, and Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian-Serving Institutions.
The SBDC program is SBA’s largest resource partner within the entrepreneurial development programs. The centers deliver professional business advice and training focused on strategic planning, business development, financial planning, and cash flow management to small business owners. SBDCs are uniquely effective in that they are closely integrated with the local community, and are familiar with the area’s unique challenges.
In FY2021 the SBDC network served 643,144 unique clients, helped start 22,589 new businesses and supported over 2 million jobs.
In addition to Senators Hirono and Cardin, the bill is cosponsored by Senators Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Chris Coons (D-Del.), Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.), and Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.). It is also endorsed by America’s SBDC, a nationwide network of Small Business Development Centers.
As a member of the Senate Committee on Small Business & Entrepreneurship, Senator Hirono has worked to secure federal support for Hawaii’s small businesses. Last month, she visited small businesses in Kaimuki to meet with business owners and discuss how federal programs, including the Paycheck Protection Program, enabled them to remain in business through the COVID-19 pandemic. In August, she hosted SBA Administrator Isabella Guzman for a tour of organizations supporting small businesses and small businesses on Oahu. In September, she joined colleagues in introducing the Women’s Business Centers Improvement Act, legislation to reauthorize and improve SBA’s Women’s Business Center (WBC) Program, a national network of more than 140 centers that offer counseling, training, networking, workshops, technical assistance, and mentoring to entrepreneurs, including the Patsy T. Mink Center for Business & Leadership on Oahu.