The Arkansas Small Business and Technology Development Center network has received full accreditation with no conditions, after a review by its national association.
Jody Keenan, chair of the America’s Small Business Development Centers Accreditation Committee, announced the accomplishment in a Feb. 20 letter.
America’s Small Business Development Centers, the national accrediting body for SBDC programs, reviews each state or regional network every five years. Mandated by Congress, the accreditation review process assures that SBDC programs operate efficiently and effectively. Accreditation is also a requirement to receive federal funding.
The review included general and technology accreditation standards developed and deployed in cooperation with SBDC federal funding partner, the U.S. Small Business Administration.
“Accreditation is important for each SBDC network and is essential for the national SBDC program to be recognized as a provider of high-quality business advising and education that results in credible economic impact,” stated Keenan, who is state director of the Virginia SBDC.
Keenan and fellow committee member Mike Daniel of California’s Orange County/Inland Empire SBDC visited Arkansas Nov. 7-11 for the on-site portion of the review. Feb. 5, the committee voted to award full accreditation without conditions and cited multiple best practices in its final report.
“Reaccreditation is a significant achievement, and I commend our leadership team and network staff for their commitment to helping small businesses start, grow and thrive,” said Laura Fine, ASBTDC state director. “We are extremely proud of never having any conditions with any of our accreditation reviews, spanning back decades.”
Centers Drive Economic Development Across Arkansas, Nation
The mission of the nationwide network of SBDCs is to help new entrepreneurs realize the dream of business ownership and to assist existing businesses so they can remain competitive in the complex marketplace of an ever-changing global economy.
Hosted by leading universities, colleges and state economic development agencies, nearly 1,000 local centers provide no-cost business consulting and other services to entrepreneurs and business owners.
In Arkansas, the lead center is part of the University of Arkansas at Little Rock College of Business, Health, and Human Services. Nine institutions host regional offices: Arkansas State University, ASU Mid-South, ASU-Mountain Home, Arkansas Tech University, Southern Arkansas University, and University of Arkansas campuses at Fayetteville, Fort Smith, Monticello and Pine Bluff.
The ASBTDC network assisted Arkansas small businesses with obtaining more than three-quarters of a billion dollars in capital investment ($804,624,250) over the last decade, including an all-time best $102 million in 2022. Over the last 10 years, the ASBTDC network helped clients create 18,132 jobs.