Small Business Development Center dodges a bullet

Everyone in South Carolina should breathe a sigh of relief that the budget for the Small Business Development Center is being reinstated thanks to a veto override today. Cutting revenue producing/job producing/business supporting initiatives like this program is short-sighted and counter-productive.

The SBDC is co-funded by the federal Small Business Administration, so each dollar of state funding brings in additional funds from the SBA to support the growth and development of small businesses in our state.

In the past five years, the SBDC has helped more than 500 businesses get started, assisted those businesses in obtaining more than $1 billion in government contracts and $815 in business loans and contributed to the creation of more than 6000 sustained and continuing jobs - more than 2700 of them in 2010. Each dollar the state has invested in the SBDC has returned $5.85 to the state's economy.

As a small business launched in the last two years, Portfolio has benefitted from the presence of the SBDC in Greenville. We received invaluable advice, information, direction and a sounding board for ideas. I know several people whose businesses might not be functioning today were it not for the assistance they found at the SBDC.

Sound bites and slogans are tossed about readily these days. Often they revolve around supporting small businesses and growing jobs. The governor's veto here is a rubber-hitting-the-road moment. The SBDC more than supports itself and achieves the goals of growing the economy through the strength of small businesses. Each year, it seems, this program must fight for its life. With the heart and soul of its function being the advancement of business and the creation of jobs - and a battle it is helping to win - that seems to be an odd program to have a target on its back.

If you are a small business hoping trying to grow, an individual hoping to start a business, or an established business looking to expand avail yourself of the resources and experienced consultants at the SBDC. It's an unparalleled resource, it is free to you and hopefully it will not be an endangered program lost to a frenzy of budget cutting.

The more we use it; the less likely we'll lose it.