Section 1: Purpose & History

To help existing and new business grow and prosper

To be the premier, trusted choice of Colorado businesses for consulting, training and resources

The Colorado SBDC strategic planning process was initiated in 1992 during a network strategic planning meeting. The planning process included SBDC directors and staff, Small Business Administration (SBA) personnel and State Advisory Board members. The Colorado SBDC mission was broadly developed to capture the varied and unique environments and differing business development needs of each sector of the state.

Now the SBDC Network’s Center Directors update a 3-year strategic work plan annually to ensure that goals are meeting community needs.

In 1977, the U.S. Small Business Administration funded a pilot program at eight universities across the country: University of Georgia, California State Polytechnic University, California State University, the University of Southern Main, the University of Missouri, the University of Nebraska, Rutgers University and the University of West Florida. These eight schools were chosen to participate in the “university business development center” program because they already had business assistance services or programs in place.

Between the spring of 1977 and the summer of 1980, several efforts were initiated to enact federal legislation aid to expand the university business center model into a national program. In July 1980, Public Law 96-302- the Small Business Development Center Act, established the national SBDC program which provided the program’s funding.

The Small Business Development Center Act did not insist on a formal program tied to institutions of higher learning, but it built substantially upon the experience and lessons of the existing SBDCs. Key elements carried forward into the SBDC program were the concept that the program represented a partnership between the SBDC and the SBDC in the state served and that program priorities and operations were to be uniquely determined to best meet local needs and conditions.

Since 1980, the SBDC program has grown dramatically from 10 SBDCs and an annual budget of $4,000,000 to 63 SBDCs and an annual budget of $107, 500, 000. The rapid expansion of the national program over the years has been mirrored by huge increases in the programs and services offered by the SBDCs and by very substantial impact on a large and rapidly growing small business client base.

Despite the growth and obvious success of the SBDC program, there have been threats to the program, ranging from efforts to eliminate the SBA to the elimination of the SBDC program itself. There have also been sporadic efforts to undermine the fundamental partnership relationship between the SBA and the SBDCs through changes in policies and procedures.

The national SBDC program has successfully weathered all challenges to date for several reasons:
-It has always been a results-oriented program
-It has been systematic in documenting its activity and impact
-It has historically enjoyed a high degree of congressional support due to the SBDC’s ability to produce highly effective programs and results

Now and in the years ahead, the SBDC program, like most government funded programs, will continue to be scrutinized as to its merit and value as the federal government seeks ways to reduce the spending and size of government.

Colorado instituted its SBDC program in 1988 and was funded by a matching grant from the Small Business Administration (SBA) to the Colorado Community Colleges and Occupational Education System (CCCOES). In 1990, the Office of Business Development (OBC) in the Governor’s Office assumed responsibility of administering the program and continues to be the host for the Colorado SBDC program up until the present time.

There were two major reasons why the Governor requested transfer of the program. The first was the concern that Colorado had two separate business management assistance programs operating at the same time. One being sponsored by the University of Colorado’s Business Advancement Center and the other, the Community College’s SBDC program. This dual system was viewed as not being the best format for the efficient expenditure of public investment and delivery of services. Plus, it had been very confusing to the small business customer. The transfer of the SBDC program to OBD was deemed as a necessary and logical step in assisting the state address the following issues:
– Consolidation and better coordinator of business development services that the state provided
– Elimination of possible duplication in the delivery of services
– Need for increased public awareness of services offered by state programs
– More efficient expenditure of federal and state funds
– Improved access for small businesses seeking assistance

Simultaneously, the Colorado Legislature recognized the importance for small business and appropriated $200,000 in General Funds to create a Small Business office within OBD. Because of the support given to the Office of Small Business by the State’s General Assembly and the leadership of the small business community, specifically, the Small Business Council, the Governor requested and received approval from SBA to move the SBDC program to the Office of Business Development from the community college system that same year. At the time the program was transferred, SBA contributed $596,564 towards the program. Presently, the Colorado SBDC program consists of one Lead administrative office, 15 subcenters and more than 90 satellite offices. Since 1999, the Office of Business Development changed to the Office of Economic Development and International Trade (OEDIT).

Scroll to Top
Skip to content