SECTION 2. RELATIONSHIPS AND STRUCTURE

This section defines the sponsor relationships that are critical to the ongoing operations of the Colorado Small Business Development Center Network (CSBDC). This section also describes the structure of the program and details the role of the Lead Center in its program responsibilities.

The Colorado SBDC is operated by the Governor’s Office of Economic Development International Trade (OEDIT) and is governed by a Cooperative Agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration. The SBDC program is the State’s only jointly public and private sponsored business development resource that has access points in all regions of the state. The CSBDC Network strives to be uniquely responsive to economic shifts and changing market conditions that impact small businesses. Major attention is given to developing strong partnerships with business organizations, which have similar goals in assisting small businesses in Colorado.

For example, through the development of strategic alliances with groups such as Manufacturer’s Edge, Colorado Bioscience Association, Chambers of Commerce, economic development agencies, business incubators and community and state colleges, the Colorado SBDC is uniquely positioned to respond to the business community’s needs.  By cooperating and supporting the efforts of these organizations, the CSBDC is better able to reach its goal of assisting Colorado small businesses with education and technical support tailored to their needs.

These partnerships are the strength of the Colorado SBDC and will continuously increase in importance as the network grows. The Colorado SBDC Lead Center develops these relationships, where appropriate, and negotiates the joint activities on behalf of the statewide network. State economic development policy supports the Colorado SBDC in the state’s overall economic development plan.

2.1.            SPONSOR RELATIONSHIPS

The SBDC program is a three-way partnership between SBA, OEDIT and a variety of local organizations, with deliverables negotiated at each level. The federal/state relationship is defined annually through a negotiated Cooperative Agreement. The Lead Center then sub-contracts with local organizations to establish local centers, which provide one-to-one business consulting, training and specialized support to the small business community.

2.2.               FEDERAL/STATE RELATIONSHIPS

The SBA states in the Federal Rules and Regulations for the SBDC program that only educational entities are eligible to operate an SBDC network, unless it is an entity operating as a recipient organization as of December 21, 1990, or it is an entity formed by two or more educational institutions. The Colorado SBDC falls into this group of exceptions as an organization operating prior to 1990.

 

Philosophically, the Colorado program has differed from the traditional SBDC program in many ways, mostly stemming from its sponsorship by a state economic development agency. Unlike many university-based programs, Colorado has always measured its success by the economic impact of its clients upon the state’s economy. Such measurements were adopted for the first time in 1996 by the U.S. Small Business Administration and are now required throughout the nation. See Appendix B-1 for the Federal-State Organizational Chart.

OEDIT holds the contract, officially referred to as the Cooperative Agreement, with SBA to provide the services of the SBDC program throughout the entire state of Colorado. (Note: OEDIT and/or Lead Center may also be referred to as the recipient organizations in this manual.)

The amount of the contract is based on a maximum amount, or “cap”, determined by service area and performance. Milestones for the SBDC program are determined through negotiation with local centers and the SBA in the annual proposal for continuation of funding.

2.3.           STATE/LOCAL RELATIONSHIPS

Local sponsors play a critical role in the success of a SBDC program. It is the practice of the Lead Center to renew local contracts annually, provided the local sponsors meet performance expectations. Should an organization within the service area of an operating SBDC ask to begin a site, it is the position of the Lead Center that such sites must be negotiated with the pre-existing SBDC. It is also required that all such sites have the minimum configuration, infrastructure, and funding defined and pre-committed prior to establishment, and that the center be structured according to the requirements of this manual, our national and state governmental funding partners, and the Association of Small Business Development Centers (ASBDC). See Appendix B-2 for a roster of SBDC subcenters and directors.

The Colorado SBDC has encouraged flexibility and diversity by allowing various types of organizational sponsors, which effectively meet the needs of their localities. Therefore, the Colorado SBDCs encompass many variations of a common mission. Now that the program has grown out of its infancy, the task is to align centers into a network of cohesive programs while maintaining the individuality of services and structures.

SBA greatly encourages both lead and local centers to obtain contracts and grants from sources other than SBA. ASBDC certification standards state that a mature SBDC should be able to demonstrate a strategy for seeking supplemental funding and that those funds are consistent with the Colorado SBDC mission.

2.4             LEAD CENTER STRUCTURE

Obligations of the Lead Center Required By Both Federal Regulations and ASBDC Certification Standards:

  •       It must be an independent entity within the recipient organization. The SBDC must have a separate budget and identity and should not be an indistinguishable part of a larger unit.
  •      It must have its own full-time staff, including a full-time SBDC State Director. It is required that the SBDC State Director should report to an individual who is no lower than the third level of management or administration within the host institution or agency.
  • The Lead Center must provide administrative services and coordination for the SBDC network, including program development, program management, financial management, reports management, promotion and public relations, program assessment and evaluation and internal quality control.
  • The Lead Center must ensure statewide coverage and maintain the services and restrictions on services outlined under Section IV. SBDCOperations. It is required that the service delivery system, the mix of services (consulting, training, information dissemination, etc.) and its geographic coverage relates to the changing needs of the small business community.
  • The SBDC should be a private/public partnership. Support for the SBDC should be demonstrated by the direct funding from the state legislature, the host agency, local centers, state agencies, foundation or units in the private sector.
  • The SBDC must be able to document that there is direct match funding from eligible sources into the program.

Additional Federal Regulations Pertaining to the Lead Center:

  • The Lead Center must be accessible to the public and operate during the normal business hours of the recipient organization.
  • The Lead Center, like local centers, must also operate under a conflict of interest agreement and may not discriminate.

Additional ASBDC Certification Standards Pertaining to the Lead Center:

  • The SBDC must show that the host institution and its chief administrator understand and support the program, and that the program has become a component of the institution’s economic development effort
  • The SBDC must demonstrate that it has systems and a structure capable of overseeing and managing its budgets. Given appropriate administrative requirements, the State Director should be in control of the Colorado SBDC network’s budget, and able to assure that generated program income is used in support of the SBDC program
  • The SBDC organizational structure must be consistent with the SBDC mission, goals and funding abilities. The SBDC should be capable of supporting the Strategic Plan, and also ensuring that staff deployment is consistent.
  • The State Director must demonstrate sufficient authority, communication and oversight over all SBDC centers as established by Interagency Agreements with state agency hosts and Sole Source Contracts with non-state agency hosts. The Lead Center must also demonstrate the availability of sufficient resources to manage the Colorado SBDC network.

2.5           LEAD CENTER HOST

The Colorado SBDC Lead Center is a division within the Colorado Office of Economic Development & International Trade (OEDIT). The State Director reports to the Director of OEDIT. Also, as required by federal regulation, in a non-university setting the State Director must be in a position equivalent to that of a division director or higher official of the state-endorsed organization responsible for small business development.

 

Local Subcenter Directors report directly to the State Director for programmatic and financial purposes and, in his/her absence, the Deputy Director of Finance. Other Lead Center staff, including the Grant and Program Managers, operates in a support role to the local centers and report to the State Director. As the direct supervisor of local centers, the State Director is ultimately responsible for the fulfillment of the contract with SBA, the local sponsors and OEDIT and carries all authority inherent in such responsibility. As the representative of OEDIT, the State Director works in a cooperative role to negotiate program issues with both the SBA and the local sponsors.

 

Lead Center staff is comprised of the State Director, the Deputy Director of Finance, the Grant and Program Manager, the Program Manager, and the Small Business Navigator.

 

2.6           LEAD CENTER FUNCTIONS

As previously stated, the Lead Center is responsible for the overall management oversight, including administrative, financial and programmatic responsibilities of the SBDC network. The Lead Center is required to evaluate programs in a thorough manner and ensure quality of service. The Lead Center also acts in a development manner to improve, grow and support local centers, and as a buffer between the two major sponsors (SBA and the local host organizations). The Lead Center strives to maintain open communication with the local host organizations to leverage resources and to identify opportunities, address network issues, and to implement feasible and practical solutions.

Major responsibilities of the Lead Center include:

  • Program oversight, financial and administrative support to SBDC network
  • Data collection, analysis and trending of services provided throughout the network
  • Development and maintenance of public and private partnerships with the program
  • Resource development and utilization on behalf of statewide delivery system
  • Contract management and on-going monitoring of program implementation
  • Provide technological support and resources to subcenter operations
  • Provide marketing support and services on behalf of the statewide network
  • Legislative liaison between network and state legislative body/executive branch of state government

 

2.7           LEAD CENTER PERSONNEL

The Colorado SBDC Lead Center consists of a five-person full-time staff with additional in-kind assistance by other members within OEDIT.

 

2.7.1        State Director

  • Directs and monitors all program activities and financial affairs of the SBDC network to deliver effective services to the small business community, and comply with applicable laws, regulations and standards
  • Serves as the principal contact point for all matters involving the SBDC Network
  • Negotiates with local sponsors and SBA on SBDC issues and programs
  • Controls expenditures under the Lead Center’s budget
  • Approves local budget changes
  • Oversees all program income expenditures on a local level
  • Serves on all interview panels for approval of the local Subcenter Director(s) and must approve the termination of their employment
  • Serves as the program’s representative to the ASBDC
  • Manages and conducts the programmatic reviews for the Network
  • Manages and conducts accreditation training and prepping for national review

According to federal regulations, the State Director may manage other programs in addition to the SBDC program if the programs serve small businesses and do not duplicate the services provided by the SBDC network. However, the State Director may not receive additional compensation for managing these programs. ASBDC Certification Standards require that the State Director must have, at minimum, a master’s degree in business or another directly related field and exhibit progressively responsible experience.

2.7.2        Deputy Director of Finance

  • Performs all responsibilities in absence of State Director or as assigned authority by him/her
  • Authorizes the accounting under Lead Center’s budget for each grant and approves reimbursements to local centers including the financial reviews for the Network
  • Ensures compliance with federal and state grant requirements
  • Conducts annual financial reviews
  • Responsible for yearly contracting requirements with the State of Colorado and host organizations
  • Responsible for all required reports and proposals
  • Responsible for Federal grant applications on behalf of the network or individual sub-centers
  • Acts as liaison for local center staff

 

2.7.3        Grant and Program Manager

  • Responsible for overseeing specialty grants budgets and reporting
  • Oversees and reports on all evaluations and sub center activities
  • Programmatic reviews of sub centers policies and procedures
  • Manage all statewide specialty programs and grants including:
  • LEADING EDGE
  • Connect 2 Dot
  • SBDC ADVANCED
  • Portable Assistance Grant
  • Directs upgrades and maintenance of daily operations of MIS and statewide SBDC users
  • Administer day-to-day database operations and training on MIS

 

2.7.4           Program Manager

  • Responsible for statewide network reporting and record keeping function
  • Responsible for the timely development, preparation and submission of monthly, quarterly, semi-annual and annual reports generated from the Center IC System, including compilation, verification and reconciliation of all programmatic and statistical reports required by the funding agency
  • Works closely with the State Director, Deputy Director, and Grant Manager to monitor program quality and verify adherence to established internal control procedures and certification standards.
  • Assist in maintaining and monitoring SBDC financial records, processing and tracking financial transactions
  • Responsible for planning and implementing statewide conferences, trainings and events
  • Maintain SBDC websites, SBDC roster, brochures, and marketing collateral
  • Ensures center compliance with network wide marketing and branding
  • Manages quarterly MIS uploads to the SBA server and ensures sub centers are adhering to MIS procedures
  • Complete various data entry tasks such as compilation of survey responses
  • Support State Director, Deputy Director, and Grant Manager in day-to-day operations and administrative duties. Activities may include compilation of inquiry statistics, assist callers with direct mail information and forms requests, provide direct answers to questions or refer caller to additional sources of information
  • Maintain business library and informational materials
  • Assist with planning and preparation of internal and external SBDC meetings and events and prepare subsequent minutes
  • Responsible for compilation and trend analysis for the network performance measures

2.7.5        Small Business Navigator

  • Manages daily operations of the SBDC phone line
  • Updates written materials including the Colorado Business Resource Book, the industry and local licensing database and other publications distributed by the Hotline
  • Monitors system documentation and develops benchmarking reports
  • Maintains the SBDC Navigator phone system and messages

 

2.8           LEAD CENTER OVERSIGHT AND RESPONSIBILITY

 

2.8.1        Lead Center On-Site Program Reviews
The SBDC State Director will perform programmatic review on all subcenters at least once a year to ensure compliance with guidelines set in the Interagency Agreement, Federal Regulations, and ASBDC Certification Standards. Non-compliance problem areas will be communicated in writing to the Subcenter Director. The Subcenter Director must prepare a written plan for addressing non-compliance problems. Should problems persist; the State Director will meet with the Subcenter Director and host institution representative to develop an action plan for improvements. 

2.8.2       SBA On-site Program Reviews

The SBA Project Officer will perform a programmatic review on all subcenters at least once a year to ensure compliance with guidelines set in the SBA Program Announcement, Notice of Award, and Program Guidelines. The review will also cover best practices and will discuss SBA recommendations for the center. See Appendix B-6 SBA Program Review Forms and Standards

The SBA may also conduct investigations as it deems necessary to determine whether any person or entity has engaged in acts or practices constituting a violation of the SBDC Act, any rule, regulation or order issued under the Act, or any other applicable Federal law. 

 2.8.3       Lead Center On-Site Financial Reviews

The Deputy Director of Finance will perform a financial review on all subcenters at least once every two years to ensure compliance with guidelines set in the SBA Program Announcement, Notice of Award, and Code of Federal Regulations. During the review, work-papers (see Appendix B-7 Financial Center Review Work-papers Templateare completed to ensure all areas of compliance are covered. After the work-papers are completed, the Deputy Director of Finance will complete a final report (see Appendix B-8 Financial Center Review Report Templatethat summarizes any findings, recommendations, and commendations. Both documents are shared with the center for comment and review. 

 

2.8.4        ASBDC Certification

In accordance with an agreement with the SBA, all SBDC networks must be reviewed and certified by the national America’s Small Business Development Centers (ASBDC) every four (4) years. A team of peers will review each network to ensure all requirements for certification are met every four years. The reviews consider previously defined CSBDC plans and programs and any responses to prior audits, reviews and/or related deficiencies. The CSBDC went through its first review in March 1998, another in 2004, 2008, 2012, and will have another review in 2016. There will be a follow-up review to monitor deficiency corrections and will also be reviewed four years thereafter. Subsequent reviews will be defined by the policies and guidelines of the ASBDC in place at that time.

 

2.9            GOVERNING DOCUMENTS

As the administrator of the federal grant for the U.S. Small Business Administration, OEDIT must comply with published federal regulations regarding the administration of the Small Business Development Center program. These documents, along with this manual, create the rules and regulations by which all subcenters must abide to meet the terms of their contract. Should you discover conflicting regulations between these documents, please contact the Lead Center for clarifications.

 

2.9.1        Federal Regulations

In 1998, Congress amended the legislation regulating the Small Business Development Center program. Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 130 establishes the framework for the SBDC program established by Public Law 96-302 in 1980. See Appendix A-3 for Public Law 96-302. Some items of interest include: prohibitions on an SBDC making, servicing, or awarding loans; cash match must be made with non-federal funds equal to no less than fifty percent of the federal grant; and fees may not be imposed for consulting. SBDCs are governed by the Omni Circular 2 CFR Part 200.  Uniform Guidance can be found in Subpart A–F including 200.2xx for administrative procedures and 200.4xx for cost principles. These can be found at www.whitehouse.gov/omb/circulars_default.

2.9.2        Office of Management & Budget (OMB) Circulars

The Federal Office of Management and Budget (OMB) issued circular that applies to all organizations operating with federal funds. The circular that applies to the SBDC programis Omni Circular 2 CFR Part 200This circular can be found on the OMB website:https://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/grants_docs/.

 

2.9.3        Program Announcement & Cooperative Agreement with the SBA

Each year, the SBA publishes a Program Announcement for the upcoming year to all current network sponsors of the SBDC program. This Request for Proposal (RFP) is closed to any other organization, unless the current host decides not to propose for the upcoming year. The program announcement outlines all the policies and requirements that the network must propose to meet. The SBA District Project Officer may add requirements as deemed necessary and agreed upon by the District Director and the SBDC State Director. Upon acceptance of the proposal, the SBA sends out the Notice of Award or Cooperative Agreement. Subcenters can access the SBA Program Announcement via the SBA website at www.sba.gov. Normally SBA distributes the Program Announcement to State SBDC Directors early March of each year.

 

2.9.4        Subcenter Interagency Agreements & Contract Agreements

Upon receiving the Cooperative Agreement from the SBA, the Lead Center sends out Interagency Agreements to state-based host subcenters and sole source contracts to non-state based host subcenters. These documents are the interagency/contract agreements between OEDIT, as represented by the Lead Center, and the SBDC host institution to operate a SBDC in a specified territory. These documents contain the regulations and directives necessary to meet the Program Announcement policies and requirements and other federal guidelines. Subcenters should file a copy of the current year’s Interagency/Contract Cooperative Agreement. See Appendix B-3 for a sample Non-State Contract Agreement. Please note that while Interagency Agreements are very similar, they are slightly different due to the nature of being a State of Colorado entity.

 

2.9.5        ASBDC Certification Standards

ASBDC certification requirements expand on federal regulations to set standards that ensure quality in the SBDC organizations, operations and services. Peer review groups will examine SBDC networks to measure the level at which these standards are met. ASBDC certification will play a significant role in the continuation of funding of each network. See Appendix B-4 for the ASBDC Standards of Certification.

 

2.10          LEAD CENTER ADVISORY BOARDS

 

2.10.1    SBDC State Advisory Board

SBA policy guidelines require the CSBDC to maintain a State Advisory Board. A minimum of 50% of the advisory board members must be small businesspersons or persons representing organizations whose primary function is technical assistance to small businesspersons. The role of the SBDC Advisory Board is to advise, confer with and assist the CSBDC State Director on matters regarding the CSBDC network.  The State Advisory Board is solely advisory in nature; it is not formed to manage or direct the network. Efforts are made to ensure that there is diverse representation on the council based upon geography, industry types, gender and race. Members of the SBDC Advisory Board are appointed by and serve at the pleasure of the SBDC State Director for a two-year term.

 

2.10.2    The Governor’s Small Business Council (SBC)

The SBC was established by executive order. All members of the SBC are small businesspersons or persons representing organizations whose primary function is technical assistance to small businesspersons. Members are appointed by and serve at the pleasure of the Governor. Efforts are made to ensure that there is diverse representation on the council based upon geography, industry types, gender and race. The role of the SBC is twofold: to advise the Governor on issues of importance to the small business community and to assist in the promotion and dissemination of information about state and federal programs established to assist small businesses in their respective communities.

In 2005, both the Governor’s Small Business Council and the State SBDC Advisory Board were combined to serve the entire small business population. See Appendix B-5 for the SBDC State Advisory Board/Governor’s Small Business Council members list.

 

2.11        SUBCENTER ADVISORY BOARDS

Every SBDC Subcenter is strongly encouraged to establish a local advisory board made up of area officials and business leaders to confer with and advise the Subcenter Director. The purpose of the advisory board is to advocate for the program, make recommendations and act as a resource in the conduct of the business of the SBDC. The Subcenter Director, in accordance with any established policies of the host institution, should appoint members of the local advisory board.

 

The local advisory board is solely advisory in nature; it is not formed to manage or direct the subcenter. Subcenter directors are encouraged to include board members when interviewing consultants. Host institutions are encouraged to include board members when hiring Subcenter Directors.

2.11.1    Recommended Standards

  • Two-thirds of the membership of a local advisory board should be comprised of small businesspersons or persons representing organizations whose primary function is technical assistance to small businesspersons. The remainder should be education and government representatives. All members should be selected from the local area.
  • At least one bank representative and a representative of the host organization should serve on the local advisory board. Ex-officio members may include key representatives for major cash contributors to the subcenters.
  • A local board should not consist of more than fifteen members. Members should be appointed for renewable terms not to exceed three years. The Subcenter Director should establish a regular schedule for meetings of no less than one a quarter. Members should be expected to attend all advisory board meetings. The Subcenter Director should replace members who do not regularly attend advisory board meetings.
  • The Lead Center should be kept informed regarding the membership of local advisory boards. This information is necessary for the ASDBC certification review and SBA audits. The State Director may also seek nominations to the State SBDC Advisory Board from the membership of local advisory boards.

 

2.11.2    Policies and Requirements

Subcenters may pay reasonable cost of travel of any board members to official board activities out of the subcenters’ budget. However, board members’ time in board meetings may not be counted as in-kind or direct match. If members donate time to the subcenters as volunteer consultants or trainers, that time may be counted as in-kind match.

 

2.11.3    Other Suggestions

  • Conduct an orientation meeting for new members.
  • Recognize local advisory board members for their contributions with a certificate, plaque or other symbol of appreciation.
  • Publicize activities and involvement of members in their professional publications and the local media.
  • Meeting agendas should be kept within the bounds of the mission and issues of the center. Sub-committees can be formed to handle special projects. Advisory board members should be invited to meet the State Director or other state or federal officials during center visits.
  • The contacts made by the advisory board can enhance the efforts to pursue continuous funding and to support your center. It is suggested that board members contact colleagues in similar service areas to exchange information and to generate ideas. Board members are also encouraged to discuss the SBDC with elected officials and other potential funders.

2.12          RESOURCES & RELATIONSHIPS

The Colorado SBDC is open to opportunities to fill the unmet needs of the small business community. However, it is Colorado SBDC policy not to compete, but to cooperate whenever there is another organization or agency already providing such resources in a service area.

The Colorado SBDC will promote all federal, state and local government and nonprofit agencies on its website through the Colorado Resource Gateway. Organizations can be added into the online directory by creating a user account through the website. Those users can then update the listing at any time. Final approval of listings is made at the Lead Center level.

A formal relationship with a for-profit organization may be put in place through an MOU. The partnership may take the form of a sponsorship or a set revenue share. Partnerships with for-profit businesses are formed at the sole discretion of the State Director.

Listed below are service partners and organizations that support the SBDC network. If policies or programs sponsored by these, or any other potential resource partners, raise questions about the proper relationship, conflict with SBDC policy or when experiencing problems, contact the State Director for clarification.

2.12.1    WORKING RELATIONSHIPS

 

2.12.1.1      Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE)

The SBA also supports another business assistance program called the Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE). SCORE is comprised primarily, although not exclusively, of retired business persons. SCORE works with aspiring entrepreneurs and start-up firms through their first year. Because SCORE is a volunteer organization, the level of service is not consistent statewide. SCORE volunteers with specific industry experience can be a very valuable resource for SBDC clients starting or operating a business in the same or similar field.

 

The SBA requires that SBDCs make efforts to work closely with their local SCORE chapters. Effective relationships with SCORE volunteers allow subcenters to increase the number of clients consulted and the number of training sessions conducted.

 

2.12.1.2        America’s Small Business Development Centers (ASBDC)

The ASBDC is a national organization comprised of every SBDC network throughout the nation. It is the goal of ASBDC to promote SBDCs as the small business delivery system nationwide. There are currently over 900 local offices nationwide in all 50 states plus the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and Guam.

 

ASBDC is funded with dues collected from each network. Dues are formulated based on the amount of federal funding received by each network. The Colorado SBDC pays approximately $8,500 annually. An Executive Committee of elected officers from among the network directors governs ASBDC. The State Director represents Colorado during this selection process. Staff from various Lead Centers nationwide may also participate in ASBDC committees that work closely with the Executive Committee.

 

Functions of the ASBDC performed on behalf of the SBDCs include:

  • Retaining legislative counsel to represent the SBDC program in Washington, D.C.
  • Reviewing and negotiating SBA policies and program requirements impacting the SBDC program
  • Certifying SBDCs for quality assurance through the certification review process
  • Organizing the national ASBDC conference in the fall of each year. SBDC Subcenter Directors are required to attend the national conference as part of their professional development. The conference consists of a variety of workshops, vendor displays, resource tables as well as establishing contacts and networking with SBDC personnel with similar issues nationwide. Subcenter Directors may choose to bring additional administrative staff and/or consultants to the ASBDC conference for professional development.

 

NOTE: The majority of SBDC networks are administered through the University system. Five states, including Colorado, administer SBDC as a “state-based” program through a Department of Commerce or its equivalent. OEDIT is part of the Governor’s Office and is Colorado’s equivalent to a Department of Commerce.

 

2.12.1.3                      The SBDC National Information Clearinghouse

The National SBDC Information Clearinghouse is the result of a contract relationship between the SBA and the South Texas Border SBDC Center Office. The Clearinghouse can assist SBDC personnel locate information on a wide variety of topics for clients and SBDC operations. The main objectives of the SBDC Research Network are to:

  • Share SBDC-developed materials, information and experiences
  • Inform SBDCs of available materials and resources
  • Answer SBDC inquiries on business related topics
  • Share SBA materials and program information

All SBDCs are encouraged to use the Information Clearinghouse to assist them in serving the needs of their clients.  SBDCs are further encouraged to submit copies of materials and publications developed by the SBDC to the Clearinghouse so that they may be available to all SBDCs. For more information, call 800-689-1912, emailsbdcnet@utsa.edu, or visit http://sbdcnet.utsa.edu.

2.12.1.4         ASBDC National Listserv

America’s Small Business Development Centers (ASBDC) has developed a national listserv. It will allow SBDC staff to reach a wide audience of other SBDC staff to find solutions to their questions. To subscribe to the Network List Server, select the “Network List Server” link from the www.asbdc-us.org. You will be prompted to enter a username/password.

Once you have joined the listserv, you will receive messages from other SBDCs seeking information and assistance. If you have knowledge or experience to share, you are encouraged to respond. The greatest value of the listserv is obtained by sending original messages to the listserv when you are looking for information for a particular client or attempting to organize new SBDC programs or materials. By sending messages to the listserv, SBDC staff can avoid “re-inventing of the wheel.”

2.12.1.5         International Trade Office

The Colorado SBDC and the Colorado International Trade Office (ITO) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding. ITO will provide basic export information to SBDC subcenters and will be available on an as-needed basis for export consulting. The SBDC will provide basic business consulting and assistance. They will identify potential exporters and refer them to ITO as appropriate. ITO and the SBDC will co-sponsor training events and refer to each other in their respective publications. All ITO staff have been certified as SBDC consultants.

 

2.12.1.6            Minority Business Office

The Minority Business Office (MBO), another division of the Office of Economic Development and International Trade, acts as an advocate for Colorado’s minority business community. Services include the provision of training seminars, conferences and workshops; and the identification of financing and procurement opportunities within both the public and private sectors. This office works in collaboration with the SBDC Network. The MBO collaborates with other state agencies, the private sector and various organizations to expand economic opportunities for minority businesses. The MBO also works with regional business councils throughout the state to ensure that all programs address the needs of minority business owners. Outreach, networking and mentoring are valuable elements of the MBO.

2.12.1.7            Colorado Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC)

Colorado PTAC assists Colorado businesses in becoming informed government vendors. Knowledgeable procurement counselors partner with businesses to provide assistance in the following areas:

  • Determining suitability for government contracting
  • Securing necessary registrations
  • SDB, 8(a), HUBzone and other certifications
  • Researching procurement histories
  • Networking and business development
  • Identifying bid opportunities
  • Bid/no bid decision making
  • Teaming or Joint Venture Arrangements
  • Proposal preparation
  • Government contract performance issues
  • Preparing for audit

 

For more information, visit www.coloradoptac.org or call 719-434-3470.

 

2.12.2    OTHER RESOURCE PARTERS

 

2.12.2.1 Business Loan Funds (BLFs)

Each year, the State of Colorado receives an allocation of federal funds from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), approximately one-third (1/3) of which goes to the Office of Economic Development and International Trade (OEDIT) to use specifically for economic development efforts statewide.

OEDIT uses some of its allocation of funds to capitalize the State’s Business Loan Funds. Currently, the state has 14 Business Loan Fund locations, which have service areas covering the majority of the rural areas of the state. The state’s program does not cover any of the metropolitan or “entitlement” cities in Colorado (since these communities receive their own allocation of funds).

The 14 programs are responsible for promoting and fostering economic development efforts at the local level by providing financial assistance in the form of loans and loan guarantees to businesses in their respective regions. The loan program is locally driven, with each loan fund having its own local loan review committee and local Board of Directors who approves the types of businesses they feel will have a positive economic impact in the community. In addition, borrowers under this program must create and/or retain permanent jobs and provide opportunities to persons of low- to moderate- income. All funding decisions (of $100,000 or less) are made at the local level, with final oversight approval provided by OEDIT. All funding requests over $100,000 also require final approval by the Governor’s Financial Review Committee.

2.12.2.2     Chambers of Commerce

All SBDCs are encouraged to develop strong working relationships with the chambers of commerce in their service area, by becoming members and participating in various committees.

 

2.12.2.3       Local Economic Development Agencies

SBDCs are encouraged to work closely with the economic development agencies in the local service area fostering local business development and retention. Subcenters should, however, be cautious about expanding relationships to include marketing of individual economic development agencies. The SBDC mission to provide consulting and training should be kept in mind when working with these agencies. Subcenters should also avoid becoming part of competing agendas when multiple agencies are located in the SBDC service area.

 

2.12.2.4         Enterprise Zones

Colorado’s Enterprise Zone Act of 1986 established a program for the designation of state Enterprise Zones. Statute allows for up to 16 areas to hold Enterprise Zone status. Businesses located in a zone may qualify for state income tax credits to encourage job creation and investment in these zones, including a 3% investment tax credit, a $500 new job tax credit, a 10% job training tax credit and others. To determine if a specific address is within a zone, contact the local zone administrator or visit www.advancecolorado.com/ezmap.

The local zone administrator is responsible for issuing certification to businesses located with the zone. The business must attach a copy of the “Enterprise Zone Certification of Qualified Business” form, DR 0074, to its Colorado income tax return if the business is claiming an Enterprise Zone credit of $450 or more. For more information regarding state enterprise zone tax credits, contact the Department of Revenue at (303) 238-7378 or www.taxcolorado.com. A business should also contact the appropriate local government agency to determine if city or county tax credits are also available.

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This section defines the sponsor relationships that are critical to the ongoing operations of the Colorado Small Business Development Center Network (CSBDC). This section also describes the structure of the program and details the role of the Lead Center in its program responsibilities.

The Colorado SBDC is operated by the Governor’s Office of Economic Development International Trade (OEDIT) and is governed by a Cooperative Agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration. The SBDC program is the State’s only jointly public and private sponsored business development resource that has access points in all regions of the state. The CSBDC Network strives to be uniquely responsive to economic shifts and changing market conditions that impact small businesses. Major attention is given to developing strong partnerships with business organizations, which have similar goals in assisting small businesses in Colorado.

For example, through the development of strategic alliances with groups such as Manufacturer’s Edge, Colorado Bioscience Association, Chambers of Commerce, economic development agencies, business incubators and community and state colleges, the Colorado SBDC is uniquely positioned to respond to the business community’s needs. By cooperating and supporting the efforts of these organizations, the CSBDC is better able to reach its goal of assisting Colorado small businesses with education and technical support tailored to their needs.

These partnerships are the strength of the Colorado SBDC and will continuously increase in importance as the network grows. The Colorado SBDC Lead Center develops these relationships, where appropriate, and negotiates the joint activities on behalf of the statewide network. State economic development policy supports the Colorado SBDC in the state’s overall economic development plan.

2.1. SPONSOR RELATIONSHIPS

The SBDC program is a three-way partnership between SBA, OEDIT and a variety of local organizations, with deliverables negotiated at each level. The federal/state relationship is defined annually through a negotiated Cooperative Agreement. The Lead Center then sub-contracts with local organizations to establish local centers, which provide one-to-one business consulting, training and specialized support to the small business community.

2.2. FEDERAL/STATE RELATIONSHIPS

The SBA states in the Federal Rules and Regulations for the SBDC program that only educational entities are eligible to operate an SBDC network, unless it is an entity operating as a recipient organization as of December 21, 1990, or it is an entity formed by two or more educational institutions. The Colorado SBDC falls into this group of exceptions as an organization operating prior to 1990.

Philosophically, the Colorado program has differed from the traditional SBDC program in many ways, mostly stemming from its sponsorship by a state economic development agency. Unlike many university-based programs, Colorado has always measured its success by the economic impact of its clients upon the state’s economy. Such measurements were adopted for the first time in 1996 by the U.S. Small Business Administration and are now required throughout the nation. See Appendix B-1 for the Federal-State Organizational Chart.

OEDIT holds the contract, officially referred to as the Cooperative Agreement, with SBA to provide the services of the SBDC program throughout the entire state of Colorado. (Note: OEDIT and/or Lead Center may also be referred to as the recipient organizations in this manual.)

The amount of the contract is based on a maximum amount, or “cap”, determined by service area and performance. Milestones for the SBDC program are determined through negotiation with local centers and the SBA in the annual proposal for continuation of funding.

2.3. STATE/LOCAL RELATIONSHIPS

Local sponsors play a critical role in the success of a SBDC program. It is the practice of the Lead Center to renew local contracts annually, provided the local sponsors meet performance expectations. Should an organization within the service area of an operating SBDC ask to begin a site, it is the position of the Lead Center that such sites must be negotiated with the pre-existing SBDC. It is also required that all such sites have the minimum configuration, infrastructure, and funding defined and pre-committed prior to establishment, and that the center be structured according to the requirements of this manual, our national and state governmental funding partners, and the Association of Small Business Development Centers (ASBDC). See Appendix B-2 for a roster of SBDC subcenters and directors.

The Colorado SBDC has encouraged flexibility and diversity by allowing various types of organizational sponsors, which effectively meet the needs of their localities. Therefore, the Colorado SBDCs encompass many variations of a common mission. Now that the program has grown out of its infancy, the task is to align centers into a network of cohesive programs while maintaining the individuality of services and structures.

SBA greatly encourages both lead and local centers to obtain contracts and grants from sources other than SBA. ASBDC certification standards state that a mature SBDC should be able to demonstrate a strategy for seeking supplemental funding and that those funds are consistent with the Colorado SBDC mission.

2.4 LEAD CENTER STRUCTURE

Obligations of the Lead Center Required By Both Federal Regulations and ASBDC Certification Standards:

· It must be an independent entity within the recipient organization. The SBDC must have a separate budget and identity and should not be an indistinguishable part of a larger unit.

· It must have its own full-time staff, including a full-time SBDC State Director. It is required that the SBDC State Director should report to an individual who is no lower than the third level of management or administration within the host institution or agency.

· The Lead Center must provide administrative services and coordination for the SBDC network, including program development, program management, financial management, reports management, promotion and public relations, program assessment and evaluation and internal quality control.

· The Lead Center must ensure statewide coverage and maintain the services and restrictions on services outlined under Section IV. SBDC Operations. It is required that the service delivery system, the mix of services (consulting, training, information dissemination, etc.) and its geographic coverage relates to the changing needs of the small business community.

· The SBDC should be a private/public partnership. Support for the SBDC should be demonstrated by the direct funding from the state legislature, the host agency, local centers, state agencies, foundation or units in the private sector.

· The SBDC must be able to document that there is direct match funding from eligible sources into the program.

Additional Federal Regulations Pertaining to the Lead Center:

· The Lead Center must be accessible to the public and operate during the normal business hours of the recipient organization.

· The Lead Center, like local centers, must also operate under a conflict of interest agreement and may not discriminate.

Additional ASBDC Certification Standards Pertaining to the Lead Center:

· The SBDC must show that the host institution and its chief administrator understand and support the program, and that the program has become a component of the institution’s economic development effort

· The SBDC must demonstrate that it has systems and a structure capable of overseeing and managing its budgets. Given appropriate administrative requirements, the State Director should be in control of the Colorado SBDC network’s budget, and able to assure that generated program income is used in support of the SBDC program.

· The SBDC organizational structure must be consistent with the SBDC mission, goals and funding abilities. The SBDC should be capable of supporting the Strategic Plan, and also ensuring that staff deployment is consistent.

· The State Director must demonstrate sufficient authority, communication and oversight over all SBDC centers as established by Interagency Agreements with state agency hosts and Sole Source Contracts with non-state agency hosts. The Lead Center must also demonstrate the availability of sufficient resources to manage the Colorado SBDC network.

2.5 LEAD CENTER HOST

The Colorado SBDC Lead Center is a division within the Colorado Office of Economic Development & International Trade (OEDIT). The State Director reports to the Director of OEDIT. Also, as required by federal regulation, in a non-university setting the State Director must be in a position equivalent to that of a division director or higher official of the state-endorsed organization responsible for small business development.

Local Subcenter Directors report directly to the State Director for programmatic and financial purposes and, in his/her absence, the Deputy Director of Finance. Other Lead Center staff, including the Grant and Program Managers, operates in a support role to the local centers and report to the State Director. As the direct supervisor of local centers, the State Director is ultimately responsible for the fulfillment of the contract with SBA, the local sponsors and OEDIT and carries all authority inherent in such responsibility. As the representative of OEDIT, the State Director works in a cooperative role to negotiate program issues with both the SBA and the local sponsors.

Lead Center staff is comprised of the State Director, the Deputy Director of Finance, the Grant and Program Manager, the Program Manager, and the Small Business Navigator.

2.6 LEAD CENTER FUNCTIONS

As previously stated, the Lead Center is responsible for the overall management oversight, including administrative, financial and programmatic responsibilities of the SBDC network. The Lead Center is required to evaluate programs in a thorough manner and ensure quality of service. The Lead Center also acts in a development manner to improve, grow and support local centers, and as a buffer between the two major sponsors (SBA and the local host organizations). The Lead Center strives to maintain open communication with the local host organizations to leverage resources and to identify opportunities, address network issues, and to implement feasible and practical solutions.

Major responsibilities of the Lead Center include:

· Program oversight, financial and administrative support to SBDC network

· Data collection, analysis and trending of services provided throughout the network

· Development and maintenance of public and private partnerships with the program

· Resource development and utilization on behalf of statewide delivery system

· Contract management and on-going monitoring of program implementation

· Provide technological support and resources to subcenter operations

· Provide marketing support and services on behalf of the statewide network

· Legislative liaison between network and state legislative body/executive branch of state government

2.7 LEAD CENTER PERSONNEL

The Colorado SBDC Lead Center consists of a five-person full-time staff with additional in-kind assistance by other members within OEDIT.

2.7.1 State Director

· Directs and monitors all program activities and financial affairs of the SBDC network to deliver effective services to the small business community, and comply with applicable laws, regulations and standards

· Serves as the principal contact point for all matters involving the SBDC Network

· Negotiates with local sponsors and SBA on SBDC issues and programs

· Controls expenditures under the Lead Center’s budget

· Approves local budget changes

· Oversees all program income expenditures on a local level

· Serves on all interview panels for approval of the local Subcenter Director(s) and must approve the termination of their employment

· Serves as the program’s representative to the ASBDC

· Manages and conducts the programmatic reviews for the Network

· Manages and conducts accreditation training and prepping for national review

According to federal regulations, the State Director may manage other programs in addition to the SBDC program if the programs serve small businesses and do not duplicate the services provided by the SBDC network. However, the State Director may not receive additional compensation for managing these programs. ASBDC Certification Standards require that the State Director must have, at minimum, a master’s degree in business or another directly related field and exhibit progressively responsible experience.

2.7.2 Deputy Director of Finance

· Performs all responsibilities in absence of State Director or as assigned authority by him/her

· Authorizes the accounting under Lead Center’s budget for each grant and approves reimbursements to local centers including the financial reviews for the Network

· Ensures compliance with federal and state grant requirements

· Conducts annual financial reviews

· Responsible for yearly contracting requirements with the State of Colorado and host organizations

· Responsible for all required reports and proposals

· Responsible for Federal grant applications on behalf of the network or individual sub-centers

· Acts as liaison for local center staff

2.7.3 Grant and Program Manager

· Responsible for overseeing specialty grants budgets and reporting

· Oversees and reports on all evaluations and sub center activities

· Programmatic reviews of sub centers policies and procedures

· Manage all statewide specialty programs and grants including:

§ LEADING EDGE

§ Connect 2 Dot

§ SBDC ADVANCED

§ Portable Assistance Grant

· Directs upgrades and maintenance of daily operations of MIS and statewide SBDC users

· Administer day-to-day database operations and training on MIS

2.7.4 Program Manager

· Responsible for statewide network reporting and record keeping function

· Responsible for the timely development, preparation and submission of monthly, quarterly, semi-annual and annual reports generated from the Center IC System, including compilation, verification and reconciliation of all programmatic and statistical reports required by the funding agency

· Works closely with the State Director, Deputy Director, and Grant Manager to monitor program quality and verify adherence to established internal control procedures and certification standards.

· Assist in maintaining and monitoring SBDC financial records, processing and tracking financial transactions

· Responsible for planning and implementing statewide conferences, trainings and events

· Maintain SBDC websites, SBDC roster, brochures, and marketing collateral

· Ensures center compliance with network wide marketing and branding

· Manages quarterly MIS uploads to the SBA server and ensures sub centers are adhering to MIS procedures

· Complete various data entry tasks such as compilation of survey responses

· Support State Director, Deputy Director, and Grant Manager in day-to-day operations and administrative duties. Activities may include compilation of inquiry statistics, assist callers with direct mail information and forms requests, provide direct answers to questions or refer caller to additional sources of information

· Maintain business library and informational materials

· Assist with planning and preparation of internal and external SBDC meetings and events and prepare subsequent minutes

· Responsible for compilation and trend analysis for the network performance measures

2.7.5 Small Business Navigator

· Manages daily operations of the SBDC phone line

· Updates written materials including the Colorado Business Resource Book, the industry and local licensing database and other publications distributed by the Hotline

· Monitors system documentation and develops benchmarking reports

· Maintains the SBDC Navigator phone system and messages

2.8 LEAD CENTER OVERSIGHT AND RESPONSIBILITY

2.8.1 Lead Center On-Site Program Reviews
The SBDC State Director will perform programmatic review on all subcenters at least once a year to ensure compliance with guidelines set in the Interagency Agreement, Federal Regulations, and ASBDC Certification Standards. Non-compliance problem areas will be communicated in writing to the Subcenter Director. The Subcenter Director must prepare a written plan for addressing non-compliance problems. Should problems persist; the State Director will meet with the Subcenter Director and host institution representative to develop an action plan for improvements.

2.8.2 SBA On-site Program Reviews

The SBA Project Officer will perform a programmatic review on all subcenters at least once a year to ensure compliance with guidelines set in the SBA Program Announcement, Notice of Award, and Program Guidelines. The review will also cover best practices and will discuss SBA recommendations for the center. See Appendix B-6 SBA Program Review Forms and Standards.

The SBA may also conduct investigations as it deems necessary to determine whether any person or entity has engaged in acts or practices constituting a violation of the SBDC Act, any rule, regulation or order issued under the Act, or any other applicable Federal law.

2.8.3 Lead Center On-Site Financial Reviews

The Deputy Director of Finance will perform a financial review on all subcenters at least once every two years to ensure compliance with guidelines set in the SBA Program Announcement, Notice of Award, and Code of Federal Regulations. During the review, work-papers (see Appendix B-7 Financial Center Review Work-papers Template) are completed to ensure all areas of compliance are covered. After the work-papers are completed, the Deputy Director of Finance will complete a final report (see Appendix B-8 Financial Center Review Report Template) that summarizes any findings, recommendations, and commendations. Both documents are shared with the center for comment and review.

2.8.4 ASBDC Certification

In accordance with an agreement with the SBA, all SBDC networks must be reviewed and certified by the national America’s Small Business Development Centers (ASBDC) every four (4) years. A team of peers will review each network to ensure all requirements for certification are met every four years. The reviews consider previously defined CSBDC plans and programs and any responses to prior audits, reviews and/or related deficiencies. The CSBDC went through its first review in March 1998, another in 2004, 2008, 2012, and will have another review in 2016. There will be a follow-up review to monitor deficiency corrections and will also be reviewed four years thereafter. Subsequent reviews will be defined by the policies and guidelines of the ASBDC in place at that time.

2.9 GOVERNING DOCUMENTS

As the administrator of the federal grant for the U.S. Small Business Administration, OEDIT must comply with published federal regulations regarding the administration of the Small Business Development Center program. These documents, along with this manual, create the rules and regulations by which all subcenters must abide to meet the terms of their contract. Should you discover conflicting regulations between these documents, please contact the Lead Center for clarifications.

2.9.1 Federal Regulations

In 1998, Congress amended the legislation regulating the Small Business Development Center program. Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 130 establishes the framework for the SBDC program established by Public Law 96-302 in 1980. See Appendix A-3 for Public Law 96-302. Some items of interest include: prohibitions on an SBDC making, servicing, or awarding loans; cash match must be made with non-federal funds equal to no less than fifty percent of the federal grant; and fees may not be imposed for consulting. SBDCs are governed by the Omni Circular 2 CFR Part 200. Uniform Guidance can be found in Subpart A–F including 200.2xx for administrative procedures and 200.4xx for cost principles. These can be found at www.whitehouse.gov/omb/circulars_default.

2.9.2 Office of Management & Budget (OMB) Circulars

The Federal Office of Management and Budget (OMB) issued a circular that applies to all organizations operating with federal funds. The circular that applies to the SBDC program is Omni Circular 2 CFR Part 200. This circular can be found on the OMB website: https://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/grants_docs/.

2.9.3 Program Announcement & Cooperative Agreement with the SBA

Each year, the SBA publishes a Program Announcement for the upcoming year to all current network sponsors of the SBDC program. This Request for Proposal (RFP) is closed to any other organization, unless the current host decides not to propose for the upcoming year. The program announcement outlines all the policies and requirements that the network must propose to meet. The SBA District Project Officer may add requirements as deemed necessary and agreed upon by the District Director and the SBDC State Director. Upon acceptance of the proposal, the SBA sends out the Notice of Award or Cooperative Agreement. Subcenters can access the SBA Program Announcement via the SBA website at www.sba.gov. Normally SBA distributes the Program Announcement to State SBDC Directors early March of each year.

2.9.4 Subcenter Interagency Agreements & Contract Agreements

Upon receiving the Cooperative Agreement from the SBA, the Lead Center sends out Interagency Agreements to state-based host subcenters and sole source contracts to non-state based host subcenters. These documents are the interagency/contract agreements between OEDIT, as represented by the Lead Center, and the SBDC host institution to operate a SBDC in a specified territory. These documents contain the regulations and directives necessary to meet the Program Announcement policies and requirements and other federal guidelines. Subcenters should file a copy of the current year’s Interagency/Contract Cooperative Agreement. See Appendix B-3 for a sample Non-State Contract Agreement. Please note that while Interagency Agreements are very similar, they are slightly different due to the nature of being a State of Colorado entity.

2.9.5 ASBDC Certification Standards

ASBDC certification requirements expand on federal regulations to set standards that ensure quality in the SBDC organizations, operations and services. Peer review groups will examine SBDC networks to measure the level at which these standards are met. ASBDC certification will play a significant role in the continuation of funding of each network. See Appendix B-4 for the ASBDC Standards of Certification.

2.10 LEAD CENTER ADVISORY BOARDS

2.10.1 SBDC State Advisory Board

SBA policy guidelines require the CSBDC to maintain a State Advisory Board. A minimum of 50% of the advisory board members must be small businesspersons or persons representing organizations whose primary function is technical assistance to small businesspersons. The role of the SBDC Advisory Board is to advise, confer with and assist the CSBDC State Director on matters regarding the CSBDC network. The State Advisory Board is solely advisory in nature; it is not formed to manage or direct the network. Efforts are made to ensure that there is diverse representation on the council based upon geography, industry types, gender and race. Members of the SBDC Advisory Board are appointed by and serve at the pleasure of the SBDC State Director for a two-year term.

2.10.2 The Governor’s Small Business Council (SBC)

The SBC was established by executive order. All members of the SBC are small businesspersons or persons representing organizations whose primary function is technical assistance to small businesspersons. Members are appointed by and serve at the pleasure of the Governor. Efforts are made to ensure that there is diverse representation on the council based upon geography, industry types, gender and race. The role of the SBC is twofold: to advise the Governor on issues of importance to the small business community and to assist in the promotion and dissemination of information about state and federal programs established to assist small businesses in their respective communities.

In 2005, both the Governor’s Small Business Council and the State SBDC Advisory Board were combined to serve the entire small business population. See Appendix B-5 for the SBDC State Advisory Board/Governor’s Small Business Council members list.

2.11 SUBCENTER ADVISORY BOARDS

Every SBDC Subcenter is strongly encouraged to establish a local advisory board made up of area officials and business leaders to confer with and advise the Subcenter Director. The purpose of the advisory board is to advocate for the program, make recommendations and act as a resource in the conduct of the business of the SBDC. The Subcenter Director, in accordance with any established policies of the host institution, should appoint members of the local advisory board.

The local advisory board is solely advisory in nature; it is not formed to manage or direct the subcenter. Subcenter directors are encouraged to include board members when interviewing consultants. Host institutions are encouraged to include board members when hiring Subcenter Directors.

2.11.1 Recommended Standards

· Two-thirds of the membership of a local advisory board should be comprised of small businesspersons or persons representing organizations whose primary function is technical assistance to small businesspersons. The remainder should be education and government representatives. All members should be selected from the local area.

· At least one bank representative and a representative of the host organization should serve on the local advisory board. Ex-officio members may include key representatives for major cash contributors to the subcenters.

· A local board should not consist of more than fifteen members. Members should be appointed for renewable terms not to exceed three years. The Subcenter Director should establish a regular schedule for meetings of no less than one a quarter. Members should be expected to attend all advisory board meetings. The Subcenter Director should replace members who do not regularly attend advisory board meetings.

· The Lead Center should be kept informed regarding the membership of local advisory boards. This information is necessary for the ASDBC certification review and SBA audits. The State Director may also seek nominations to the State SBDC Advisory Board from the membership of local advisory boards.

2.11.2 Policies and Requirements

Subcenters may pay reasonable cost of travel of any board members to official board activities out of the subcenters’ budget. However, board members’ time in board meetings may not be counted as in-kind or direct match. If members donate time to the subcenters as volunteer consultants or trainers, that time may be counted as in-kind match.

2.11.3 Other Suggestions

· Conduct an orientation meeting for new members.

· Recognize local advisory board members for their contributions with a certificate, plaque or other symbol of appreciation.

· Publicize activities and involvement of members in their professional publications and the local media.

· Meeting agendas should be kept within the bounds of the mission and issues of the center. Sub-committees can be formed to handle special projects. Advisory board members should be invited to meet the State Director or other state or federal officials during center visits.

· The contacts made by the advisory board can enhance the efforts to pursue continuous funding and to support your center. It is suggested that board members contact colleagues in similar service areas to exchange information and to generate ideas. Board members are also encouraged to discuss the SBDC with elected officials and other potential funders.

2.12 RESOURCES & RELATIONSHIPS

The Colorado SBDC is open to opportunities to fill the unmet needs of the small business community. However, it is Colorado SBDC policy not to compete, but to cooperate whenever there is another organization or agency already providing such resources in a service area.

The Colorado SBDC will promote all federal, state and local government and nonprofit agencies on its website through the Colorado Resource Gateway. Organizations can be added into the online directory by creating a user account through the website. Those users can then update the listing at any time. Final approval of listings is made at the Lead Center level.

A formal relationship with a for-profit organization may be put in place through an MOU. The partnership may take the form of a sponsorship or a set revenue share. Partnerships with for-profit businesses are formed at the sole discretion of the State Director.

Listed below are service partners and organizations that support the SBDC network. If policies or programs sponsored by these, or any other potential resource partners, raise questions about the proper relationship, conflict with SBDC policy or when experiencing problems, contact the State Director for clarification.

2.12.1 WORKING RELATIONSHIPS

2.12.1.1 Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE)

The SBA also supports another business assistance program called the Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE). SCORE is comprised primarily, although not exclusively, of retired business persons. SCORE works with aspiring entrepreneurs and start-up firms through their first year. Because SCORE is a volunteer organization, the level of service is not consistent statewide. SCORE volunteers with specific industry experience can be a very valuable resource for SBDC clients starting or operating a business in the same or similar field.

The SBA requires that SBDCs make efforts to work closely with their local SCORE chapters. Effective relationships with SCORE volunteers allow subcenters to increase the number of clients consulted and the number of training sessions conducted.

2.12.1.2 America’s Small Business Development Centers (ASBDC)

The ASBDC is a national organization comprised of every SBDC network throughout the nation. It is the goal of ASBDC to promote SBDCs as the small business delivery system nationwide. There are currently over 900 local offices nationwide in all 50 states plus the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and Guam.

ASBDC is funded with dues collected from each network. Dues are formulated based on the amount of federal funding received by each network. The Colorado SBDC pays approximately $8,500 annually. An Executive Committee of elected officers from among the network directors governs ASBDC. The State Director represents Colorado during this selection process. Staff from various Lead Centers nationwide may also participate in ASBDC committees that work closely with the Executive Committee.

Functions of the ASBDC performed on behalf of the SBDCs include:

· Retaining legislative counsel to represent the SBDC program in Washington, D.C.

· Reviewing and negotiating SBA policies and program requirements impacting the SBDC program

· Certifying SBDCs for quality assurance through the certification review process

· Organizing the national ASBDC conference in the fall of each year. SBDC Subcenter Directors are required to attend the national conference as part of their professional development. The conference consists of a variety of workshops, vendor displays, resource tables as well as establishing contacts and networking with SBDC personnel with similar issues nationwide. Subcenter Directors may choose to bring additional administrative staff and/or consultants to the ASBDC conference for professional development.

NOTE: The majority of SBDC networks are administered through the University system. Five states, including Colorado, administer SBDC as a “state-based” program through a Department of Commerce or its equivalent. OEDIT is part of the Governor’s Office and is Colorado’s equivalent to a Department of Commerce.

2.12.1.3 The SBDC National Information Clearinghouse

The National SBDC Information Clearinghouse is the result of a contract relationship between the SBA and the South Texas Border SBDC Center Office. The Clearinghouse can assist SBDC personnel locate information on a wide variety of topics for clients and SBDC operations. The main objectives of the SBDC Research Network are to:

· Share SBDC-developed materials, information and experiences

· Inform SBDCs of available materials and resources

· Answer SBDC inquiries on business related topics

· Share SBA materials and program information

All SBDCs are encouraged to use the Information Clearinghouse to assist them in serving the needs of their clients. SBDCs are further encouraged to submit copies of materials and publications developed by the SBDC to the Clearinghouse so that they may be available to all SBDCs. For more information, call 800-689-1912, email sbdcnet@utsa.edu, or visit http://sbdcnet.utsa.edu.

2.12.1.4 ASBDC National Listserv

America’s Small Business Development Centers (ASBDC) has developed a national listserv. It will allow SBDC staff to reach a wide audience of other SBDC staff to find solutions to their questions. To subscribe to the Network List Server, select the “Network List Server” link from the www.asbdc-us.org. You will be prompted to enter a username/password.

Once you have joined the listserv, you will receive messages from other SBDCs seeking information and assistance. If you have knowledge or experience to share, you are encouraged to respond. The greatest value of the listserv is obtained by sending original messages to the listserv when you are looking for information for a particular client or attempting to organize new SBDC programs or materials. By sending messages to the listserv, SBDC staff can avoid “re-inventing of the wheel.”

2.12.1.5 International Trade Office

The Colorado SBDC and the Colorado International Trade Office (ITO) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding. ITO will provide basic export information to SBDC subcenters and will be available on an as-needed basis for export consulting. The SBDC will provide basic business consulting and assistance. They will identify potential exporters and refer them to ITO as appropriate. ITO and the SBDC will co-sponsor training events and refer to each other in their respective publications. All ITO staff have been certified as SBDC consultants.

2.12.1.6 Minority Business Office

The Minority Business Office (MBO), another division of the Office of Economic Development and International Trade, acts as an advocate for Colorado’s minority business community. Services include the provision of training seminars, conferences and workshops; and the identification of financing and procurement opportunities within both the public and private sectors. This office works in collaboration with the SBDC Network. The MBO collaborates with other state agencies, the private sector and various organizations to expand economic opportunities for minority businesses. The MBO also works with regional business councils throughout the state to ensure that all programs address the needs of minority business owners. Outreach, networking and mentoring are valuable elements of the MBO.

2.12.1.7 Colorado Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC)

Colorado PTAC assists Colorado businesses in becoming informed government vendors. Knowledgeable procurement counselors partner with businesses to provide assistance in the following areas:

· Determining suitability for government contracting

· Securing necessary registrations

· SDB, 8(a), HUBzone and other certifications

· Researching procurement histories

· Networking and business development

· Identifying bid opportunities

· Bid/no bid decision making

· Teaming or Joint Venture Arrangements

· Proposal preparation

· Government contract performance issues

· Preparing for audit

For more information, visit www.coloradoptac.org or call 719-434-3470.

2.12.2 OTHER RESOURCE PARTERS

2.12.2.1 Business Loan Funds (BLFs)

Each year, the State of Colorado receives an allocation of federal funds from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), approximately one-third (1/3) of which goes to the Office of Economic Development and International Trade (OEDIT) to use specifically for economic development efforts statewide.

OEDIT uses some of its allocation of funds to capitalize the State’s Business Loan Funds. Currently, the state has 14 Business Loan Fund locations, which have service areas covering the majority of the rural areas of the state. The state’s program does not cover any of the metropolitan or “entitlement” cities in Colorado (since these communities receive their own allocation of funds).

The 14 programs are responsible for promoting and fostering economic development efforts at the local level by providing financial assistance in the form of loans and loan guarantees to businesses in their respective regions. The loan program is locally driven, with each loan fund having its own local loan review committee and local Board of Directors who approves the types of businesses they feel will have a positive economic impact in the community. In addition, borrowers under this program must create and/or retain permanent jobs and provide opportunities to persons of low- to moderate- income. All funding decisions (of $100,000 or less) are made at the local level, with final oversight approval provided by OEDIT. All funding requests over $100,000 also require final approval by the Governor’s Financial Review Committee.

2.12.2.2 Chambers of Commerce

All SBDCs are encouraged to develop strong working relationships with the chambers of commerce in their service area, by becoming members and participating in various committees.

2.12.2.3 Local Economic Development Agencies

SBDCs are encouraged to work closely with the economic development agencies in the local service area fostering local business development and retention. Subcenters should, however, be cautious about expanding relationships to include marketing of individual economic development agencies. The SBDC mission to provide consulting and training should be kept in mind when working with these agencies. Subcenters should also avoid becoming part of competing agendas when multiple agencies are located in the SBDC service area.

2.12.2.4 Enterprise Zones

Colorado’s Enterprise Zone Act of 1986 established a program for the designation of state Enterprise Zones. Statute allows for up to 16 areas to hold Enterprise Zone status. Businesses located in a zone may qualify for state income tax credits to encourage job creation and investment in these zones, including a 3% investment tax credit, a $500 new job tax credit, a 10% job training tax credit and others. To determine if a specific address is within a zone, contact the local zone administrator or visit www.advancecolorado.com/ezmap.

The local zone administrator is responsible for issuing certification to businesses located with the zone. The business must attach a copy of the “Enterprise Zone Certification of Qualified Business” form, DR 0074, to its Colorado income tax return if the business is claiming an Enterprise Zone credit of $450 or more. For more information regarding state enterprise zone tax credits, contact the Department of Revenue at (303) 238-7378 or www.taxcolorado.com. A business should also contact the appropriate local government agency to determine if city or county tax credits are also available.

For more information about the various tax incentives available as well as a list of the local enterprise zones in Colorado, call the state Enterprise Zone administrator at (303) 892-3840 or visit www.advancecolorado.com/enterprisezone.

us tax incentives available as well as a list of the local enterprise zones in Colorado, call the state Enterprise Zone administrator at (303) 892-3840 or visit www.advancecolorado.com/enterprisezone.

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