The Lead Center drafts and submits the annual proposal for continuation of funding to SBA s the recipient and lead authority for the Colorado SBDC program. Prior to submitting the annual proposal to SBA, the Lead Center requires sub-centers to submit an annual work-plan, pre-determined milestones (negotiated with the Lead Center) to accomplish the following year and an annual operating budget that is then incorporated in the Lead Center proposal to SBA. The work-plan describes services and any new initiatives that the sub-center is planning to provide in their communities and a timeline defining when activities are to be accomplished. The annual work-plan mirrors the Network Strategic Plan.

Proposal Continuation
The Proposal for Continuation is submitted to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) based upon the instructions outlined in the Program Announcement issued by the SBA each spring. All local SBDCs are requested to submit budgets for the next calendar year based upon the assumed level of funding provided by the SBA. These items, among others, are compiled into a finished proposal, which is first review by the SBA District Project Officer, then submitted to the Office of Small Business Development Centers at the SBA in Washington D.C. See Appendix H-1 for a Sample Standard Form 424 Budget Sheet with the Budget Justification.

This document is then approved, edited or adjusted. When the SBA returns a Cooperative Agreement (or Notice of Award), the proposal documents the legal requirements of the contract between the Office of Economic Development and International Trade (OEDIT) and SBA.

OEDIT then subcontracts with the local host institutions to allocate federal funds to each of the sub-centers. Contracts are sent to non-state entities (private colleges, non-profit organizations, economic development corporations) and Inter-agency Agreements are sent to state entities (universities and community colleges). Each of the grant agreements includes the statement of work of the sub-center including the negotiated goals and annual budget figures. Contract amendments can be made during the project period if funding levels change in grant, cash match or in-kind contributions.

Proposal for Supplemental Funds
Occasionally, SBA will request a proposal for a set amount of supplemental funds. These funds will either be added to the based contract amount indicated in the Proposal for Continuation or are one-time funds. All centers will be notified by the Lead Center when the opportunity for the supplemental funding occurs and they are eligible to receive all or some of the funds. The Lead Center may request a formal written proposal from eligible SBDCs. Centers will be required to submit adjusted budgets denoting additional matching funds for supplemental funding.

Grant Proposals
Local SBDCs will be made aware of additional sources of funding including other grants applicable to the mission of the program. Where reasonable and appropriate, the Lead Center may serve as the proposal coordinator for such opportunities. Centers are encouraged to locate and pursue other forms of funding besides the SBA and the state with approval from the Lead Center. The Lead Center will assist in any way possible. Projects proposed for the purpose of acquiring new funding must relate to the Colorado SBDC mission and preferably with the program scope if the SBDC is the applying entity.
Leading Edge Proposals
The Colorado Leading Edge is a comprehensive business-training program designed to provide business owners with a better understanding of management and the financial and marketing aspects of their business through the completion of a business plan.

The course involves a minimum of 35 classroom hours of intensive training facilitated by qualified instructors and five or more hours of one-on-one consulting for each participating business. Instruction is normally provided over a 10 to 14 week period depending upon the local format. The program is highly interactive, so that information flows not only from the instructor but between each business owner as well. See Leading Edge Guidelines (located in the CenterIC Internal Library).

Application Process
Eligible Applicants
SBDCs in partnerships with local units of government, chambers of commerce, and other economic development agencies jointly submit a written application for a Leading Edge grant for their region.

State Leading Edge Cash Grant
Selected applicants may request a maximum state cash grant of $4,000 per program to be used for training expenses. It is desirable that applicants proposing multiple sites or training programs per site develop local sponsorship support in order to reduce the state cash grant per program, determined each year according to funding available. The lead center may use their discretion with alternative methods of delivery, programming and tracks based on proposals and documentation of need in the community (boot camps, onlie, etc.).

Applicant Match
Each applicant must commit to raise matching funds of $3,000, or an amount equal to the state cash grant (whichever is less), per site. The applicants matching commitment may come from local sponsorship(s) and/or tuition. It is desirable that tuition not exceed $250 per applicant, or what the geographic area can sustain.

Number of Sites
The number of grants provided each year will vary according to the total amount available from the Colorado General Assembly and state corporate sponsors.

Grant Disbursements
The cash grant shall be dispersed in receipt of the Leading Edge Preliminary and Final Reports. The disbursement shall occur upon receipt of the documentation outlined under Preliminary Reporting by the
SBDC Lead Center.

Trainer Certification
If a site will be using the pre-approved materials, the instructor must be certified by a Master Leading Edge Instructor. The Leading Edge Instructor Certification is organized by the State Leading Edge Administrator. The exact time, date and location will be determined annually.

Leading Edge Grant Application Evaluation
All applications for Leading Edge grants will be evaluated based upon the following criteria:

Site Location
The Leading Edge program is designed to provide training within the various regions of the state throughout Colorado. Applications must clearly indicate the proposed site(s) for the local Leading Edge program. Priority shall be given to locations that have not recently been served and/or locations that demonstrate high, unmet demand. All applications will be considered in an attempt to provide statewide coverage.

Community Support
Applications must clearly indicate:

Who from the local community will be involved with the local coordination of the Leading Edge?
Who are the local sponsors and what are their commitments?
What will be the role of the local Small Business Development Center in the coordination and/or delivery of the Leading Edge program?
Local corporate sponsors may NOT be given exclusive sponsorship rights, which preclude current or future statewide corporate sponsors.
The maximum number of individuals per program should not exceed 35. Applicants are encouraged to offer pre-venture start-ups a preliminary class to clarify their business concept and to prepare them to better participate in the Leading Edge class with existing business owners.

The budget must list the sources and uses of funds. At a minimum, it should include line items for sponsorships, tuition, instructor fees, marketing, instructional materials and general administration. It is desirable that tuition not exceed $250 per applicant, or what the geographic area can sustain.

Course Material
Applicants who receive Leading Edge Grants are encouraged to use the pre-approved Education Curriculum training materials. Specify the number of hours that will be spent on classroom instruction (a minimum of 35), and hours of one-on-one consulting (a minimum of five hours provided back-up documentation with Final Report). List the textbooks, workbooks and other materials that will be used during the program.

Guest Speakers
Guest speakers should be included as part of the program and efforts should be taken to include corporate sponsors, where appropriate, in the training program.

Public Celebration
Applicants are encouraged to include a final “graduations ceremony” when participants make brief business plan presentations with feedback participation from state and local sponsors including local state legislators.

Instructor Selection
Identify the qualifications and process that will be used to identify instructors. Will the instructor be chosen through a formal bid process? Instructors must be certified. Instructor certification will be held each year for new instructors. NOTE: SBDC staff selected as instructors may receive additional compensation as instructors if the class is held outside of normal SBDC business hours. SBDC staff may NOT receive compensation for one-on-one consulting or Leading Edge administrative duties and it is mandatory for a minimum of 5 hours of consulting.

Marketing Strategy
Identify actions that will be taken to market the Leading Edge program to the business community. All promotional materials must acknowledge all statewide sponsors and should acknowledge all local sponsors. All promotional materials must contain the SBA/SBDC disclaimer.

Clearly indicate proposed timetable for: instructor selection, the start date of training and completion date. All instruction, consulting and funding obligations must be completed by June 15 each fiscal year. The Final Leading Edge Site Report must be completed by May 31, or withing 30 days from the last date of instruction whichever comes last. The Final disbursement of the cash grant will occur only after receipt of the final report by the Lead Center.

The section below offers a brief description to assist in the preparation of required reports. See Appendix I-2 for a Copy of the Current Important Due Dates List.

Semi-Annual Sub-center Reports
All sub-centers are required to submit semi-annual activity reports highlighting activities that are being conducted at their center. These reports are listed in CenterIC utilizing the drop-down boxes. The CenterIC location is listed in the work-plan updates to verify location of full details. Centers can submit quarterly reports, in lieu of semi-annual reports if approved by State Director. For a copy of last year’s Semi-Annual or Annual Report, please contact the Lead Center.

Annual Sub-center Work-plan (BSC)
All sub-centers are required to develop and submit a semi-annual work plan in July and January of each year, describing services and programs that it accomplished on behalf of small businesses in their communities. The work plan mirrors the SBDC Networks strategic directives in the BSC and is updated semi-annually. Included in the plan is a timeline defining when the activities were accomplished. The full details are posted in CenterIC prepared for the SBA narrative. See Appendix I-1 for a Sample Semi-Annual/Annual Work-plan Update.

Semi-Annual and Annual Performance Reports
Semi-Annual Performance Report highlights center achievements for the first half of the calendar year that the Center Directors listed in their SBA Narrative and Work-plan update (based on BSC). The Annual report is exactly the same as the Semi-Annual Report, except that it summarizes data for the entire calendar year. These reports are completed by the Lead Center. For a copy of last year’s Semi-Annual or Annual Report, please contact the Lead Center.

Program Income Report
The Program Income Report must include the following information. Centers must provide detailed listing of expenditures and source of income for review by the Deputy State Director. Directors are required to determine if funds are required to go into Program Income or Cash Not Declared as match. Refer to Section VIII, Budgets and Accounts, Program Income policies regarding these accounts.

Leading Edge Report
All centers that receive Leading Edge grants must complete two reports for each class. Refer to Section VII Training, D. Leading Edge Program for detailed descriptions of each report.

  • Preliminary Leading Edge Report
  • Final Leading Edge Report
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