UA Small Business Program Renews National Accreditation

  • December 14th, 2021
Two men in suits smile while holding a certificate.
Dan Blakley, left, and Bill Cummins.

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – The Alabama Small Business Development Center Network, based at The University of Alabama, was recently accredited through 2026, renewing its commitment to help state businesses succeed.

Over the last five years, the Alabama SBDC has successfully helped entrepreneurs launch 1,115 new businesses, facilitated over $520 million in growth capital and helped small businesses create or add over 4,500 new jobs. The SBDC is a vital asset and core to the University’s Five-Year Economic Development Priorities and Strategic Goals.

“The Alabama SBDC brings jobs to our neighbors, growth to our communities, and is a key component of the University’s mission to advance the intellectual and social condition of the people of the state,” said Dan Blakley, UA associate vice president for economic and business engagement.

The SBDC accreditation review process, mandated by Congress, assures SBDC programs operate efficiently and effectively. The SBDC is the only federally-funded program to maintain accreditation and has been cited as a best practice by the U.S. Government Accountability Office.

“This final report is a great reflection of the skills and expertise of the network’s staff and the impact of their work in creating jobs in Alabama while helping small businesses start, grow and prosper,” said Bill Cummins, state director for Alabama SBDC.

This is the sixth time the Alabama SBDC program has been awarded accreditation. In this year’s report, the program was commended for its use of communication tools to provide daily updates to SBDC personnel on the constantly evolving disaster assistance programs launched in response to the pandemic. This coordinated effort allowed all SBDC personnel to relay vetted and well-researched information to Alabama’s small businesses and positioned the SBDC as the go-to source of quality information on disaster programs.

“Alabama small business owners are indeed fortunate to have access to the outstanding assets of the Alabama SBDC Network. ASBDC provides border-to-border coverage for all of Alabama’s 67 counties, to entrepreneurs at any stage of their business life-cycle,” said Tom Todt, director of the Alabama District Office of the U.S. Small Business Administration.

The Association of Small Business Development Centers, the national accrediting body for SBDCs, under contract from the U.S. Small Business Administration, conducted the week-long review. The review team assessed several areas of the program, including leadership and organizational management, the strategic planning process, client and stakeholder focus, service delivery, and program performance. These standards ensure the public investment in the program from the federal and state governments as well as host institutions result in strong returns for Alabama’s economy.

“The Alabama Small Business Development Center Network is commended for commitment to the pursuit of continuous improvement,” stated Jody Keenan, chair of the America’s SBDC Accreditation Committee. “Accreditation is important for each SBDC and is essential for the national SBDC program to be recognized as a provider of high-quality business education and advising that results in credible economic impact.”

The Alabama SBDC, funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration, has 10 offices and over 40 outreach partners throughout the state. Entrepreneurs ready to start or grow their business can connect with an SBDC business advisor at ASBDC.org.

Contact

Adam Jones, UA communications, 205-348-4328, adam.jones@ua.edu

The University of Alabama, part of The University of Alabama System, is the state’s flagship university. UA shapes a better world through its teaching, research and service. With a global reputation for excellence, UA provides an inclusive, forward-thinking environment and nearly 200 degree programs on a beautiful, student-centered campus. A leader in cutting-edge research, UA advances discovery, creative inquiry and knowledge through more than 30 research centers. As the state’s largest higher education institution, UA drives economic growth in Alabama and beyond.