Authored by Congressional Research Service
The Small Business Administration (SBA) has provided technical and managerial assistance “to small-business 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. Over time, the SBA has relied increasingly on third parties to provide that training.
Congressional interest in the SBA’s management and technical assistance training programs has increased in recent years, primarily because these programs are viewed as a means to assist small businesses create and retain jobs. The SBA will spend $198.6 million on these programs in FY2015. These programs fund about “14,000 resource partners,” including 63 lead small business development centers (SBDCs) and more than 900 SBDC local outreach locations, 106 women’s business centers (WBCs), and 354 chapters of the mentoring program, SCORE. The SBA reports that more than a million aspiring entrepreneurs and small business owners receive training from an SBA-supported resource partner each year. The SBA argues that these programs contribute “to the long-term success of these businesses and their ability to grow and create jobs.”
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 obtaining contracts and financial awards.
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 or increasing cooperation and coordination both within and among SCORE, WBCs, and SBDCs. For example, the House Committee on Small Business has argued that the SBA’s various management and technical assistance training programs should be “folded into the mission of the SBDC program or their responsibilities should be taken over by other agencies” because they “overlap each other and duplicate the educational services provided by other agencies.” Congress has also explored ways to improve the SBA’s measurement of the programs’ effectiveness.
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 and the measures used to determine their effectiveness. It also discusses several bills introduced during the 111th and 112th Congresses that would have authorized changes to these programs in an effort to improve their performance and oversight. These include S. 3442, the SUCCESS Act of 2012, and S. 3572, the Restoring Tax and Regulatory Certainty to Small Businesses Act of 2012. In addition, during the 113th Congress, S. 415, the Small Business Disaster Reform Act of 2013, and its companion bill in the House, H.R. 1974, would have authorized SBDCs to provide assistance outside of the state in which they are located, without regard to geographic proximity, if the small business is located in a presidentially declared major disaster area. Also, S. 2693, the Women’s Small Business Ownership Act of 2014, would have authorized to be appropriated $26.75 million for WBCs for each of FY2015-FY2019, nearly double the amount they were appropriated in FY2014; increased the WBC annual grant award from not more than $150,000 to not more than $250,000; and authorized the SBA Administrator to waive, in whole or in part, the WBC nonfederal matching requirement for up to two consecutive fiscal years under specified circumstances.
Feb 05 2015
1508432333 / 9781508432333
US Trade Paper
8.5″ x 11″
Black and White
Business & Economics / Small Business / General