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Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Small Business Management and Technical Assistance Training Programs

Robert Jay Dilger
Senior Specialist in American National Government

Oscar R. Gonzales
Analyst in Economic Development Policy

The Small Business Administration (SBA) has provided “technical and managerial aides to smallbusiness concerns, by advising and counseling on matters in connection with Government procurement and on policies, principles and practices of good management” since it began operations in 1953. Initially, the SBA provided its own small business management and technical assistance training programs. However, over time, the SBA has relied increasingly on third parties to provide that training.

The SBA’s FY2010 budget for management and technical assistance training for small business owners is $181.1 million. The SBA expects more than one million aspiring entrepreneurs and small business owners to receive training from an SBA-supported resource partner in FY2010.

The SBA has argued that these programs have contributed “to the long-term success of these businesses and their ability to grow and create jobs.” It currently provides funding to about “14,000 resource partners including about 900 small business development centers, more than 100 women’s business centers and more than 350 chapters of the mentoring program, SCORE.”

The Department of Commerce also provides management and technical assistance training for small businesses. For example, its Minority Business Development Agency provides training to minority business owners to assist them in becoming suppliers to private corporations and the federal government.

For many years, a recurring theme at congressional hearings concerning the SBA’s management and technical assistance training programs has been the perceived need to improve program efficiency by eliminating duplication of services and increasing cooperation and coordination both within and among SCORE, women’s business centers, and small business development centers. Congress has also explored ways to improve the SBA’s measurement of the programs’ effectiveness and to address the impact of national economic conditions on women’s business center and small business development center finances and their capacity to meet federal matching requirements and to maintain client service levels.

This report examines the historical development of federal small business management and technical assistance training programs; describes their current structures, operations, and budgets; and assesses their administration and oversight, the measures used to determine their effectiveness, and women’s business center and small business development center finances and their capacity to meet federal matching requirements and to maintain client service levels. This report also examines provisions in the Senate-passed version of H.R. 5297, the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010, and H.R. 2352, the Job Creation Through Entrepreneurship Act of 2009, which has passed the House. They would authorize several changes to the SBA’s administration and oversight of its management and technical assistance training programs, the measures used to access the programs’ effectiveness, and funding for women business centers and small business development centers.

Date of Report: September 17, 2010
Number of Pages: 33
Order Number: R41352
Price: $29.95

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