Small business entrepreneurs rely on various resources to get startups off the ground and sustain lasting success. From financial support to guidance covering every aspect of business development, there is no shortage of assistance and information available for business visionaries having a run at self-employment. Among the resources backing Texas business interests, the Small Business Development Center Network (SBDC) offers an array of services, assisting with business planning, management, training, sales, and other vital commercial concerns.
Widespread SBDC Resources
Public and private sector partnerships enable the SBDC network to provide free and low-cost services supporting small business development. The network works alongside the US Small Business Administration (SBA), sharing the Administration’s commitment to advancing business interests in the US. Partners from education are also integral to SBDC’s success. With their support, the Texas Small Business Development Center Network provides:
- Counseling Services
- Business Information
- Planning Assistance
- Free and low-cost workshops for small business professionals
- Customized business solutions tailored to each venture
- Consulting with experienced business professionals
- Access to affordable training at every stage of business development
The Texas Small Business Development Center Network spans 60 regional centers, strategically situated in not only urban areas, but also at rural and suburban locations. Strong working relationships with local Chambers of Commerce, civic organizations, and universities empower SBDC centers to offer practical solutions, helping small business operators with matters such as
- business planning,
- market expansion,
- increasing sales,
- boosting productivity
Texas Federal Innovation and Technology Transfer Program
The Texas-Fitt (Federal Innovation Technology Transfer) Program provides technical assistance for small businesses and innovative Texas entrepreneurs. In particular, the initiative strives to increase participation and award success in Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) – Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs. The effort expands commercialization opportunities for existing technology as well as backing emerging innovation. Known as America’s Seed Fund, the SBIR and STTR programs dispense nearly $3 billion annual through federal agencies. Through tech innovation and strong science, the organization strives to build a strong, competitive national economy.
The SBDC Technology Commercialization Center is one of the leading centers in the State of Texas. The resource, hosted by the South-West Texas Border SBDC Network at the University of Texas at San Antonio’s Institute for Economic Development, facilitates business competitiveness and technological innovation. SBDC efforts at the center focus on the Texas-FITT Program, which is partially funded by the US Small Business Administration and supported by the Office of the Governor of Texas. FITT strives to:
- Establish an ecosystem that supports science and technology innovation, competitiveness, and business scalability
- Increase access to capital aimed at commercializing advanced technologies
Wide-ranging advisory services are available through the Technology Commercialization Center, including these Texas-FITT services:
- Business model and plan development
- Value proposition design
- Technology commercialization
- Assessing market potential
- Overcoming design and manufacturing challenges
- Market research
- Proposal development
- Intellectual property strategy and guidance
- Technology readiness level (TRL) assessments
State Trade Expansion Program (STEP)
Customized export assistance is available through the State Trade Expansion Program, helping established exporters and new-to-export businesses seeking guidance and information. Working with University of Texas – San Antonio’s International Trade Canter, the STEP program provides customized strategies for small businesses, offering help for ventures growing internationally.
Among the opportunities offered by STEP, participants enjoy access to one-on-one advisory services, market research, and onsite training. In addition, STEP participants are also exposed to many of the key international trade issues influencing global commerce, as well as requirements for effectively conducting international trade.
Various STEP training topics target vital commercial concerns, including these popular learning opportunities:
- Laying the Foundation
- International Market Entry Strategies
- International Pricing
- International Documentation
- Identifying and Selecting Markets
- Shipping and Logistics
- International Payment Methods
The Small Business Development Centers online information clearinghouse, SBDCNet puts forth case studies, a help center, and other resources for site visitors. The website also contains contact information for each of the SBDC centers across the country, guiding business owners to the local resources needed to thrive in each Texas economic region.
Sbdcnet.org menu selections guide visitors to expanded site sections showcasing business features such as:
- Help Topics – Entrepreneurs wear many different hats, so exploring topics can help Texas owner-operators build acumen and understanding. Help topics include finance and government contracting, as well as issues affecting women and minority owned businesses.
- Business Snapshots – Information in this section drills down to the essentials for various business types. Whether you are opening a bar business, coffee shop, medical practice, or consulting service, SBDC profiles furnish job-specific insight about particular business opportunities.
- Cybersecurity – Growing cybersecurity concerns make the issue one of the most important challenges facing modern small business operators. In an effort to educate and inform, SBDCNet incorporates cybersecurity information useful to both emerging and established enterprises.
- Research Services – SBDCNet’s market research section breaks-down Texas commerce, independently studying each economic segment. From the automotive industry to food and beverage research, the site shares insight for operators across the commercial spectrum.
- Industry Blog and Links – Recent blog entries promote shopping locally and offer tips for business networking. Industry links connect professionals with resources addressing common challenges associated with self-employment in various fields.
North Central Chapter Recognized for Excellence
The North Central Texas Small Business Development Center recently earned accolades, gaining recognition as the district’s 2019 Small Business Development Center of the year. The designation is the first major regional award for the North Central Center, which beat-out tough competition from Dallas, Fort Worth, and Collin County.
North Central SBDC earned the honor for exceeding their goals helping to start, fund, and expand small businesses within the State of Texas. The organization’s efforts focus on Cooke, Denton, and Montague counties. According to Brad Bunt, Director of the North Central SBDC, most inquiries come from business owners needing help with marketing, sales, and commercial funding.
The Texas Small Business Development Center Network provides essential services for new and established businesses within the state. The organization strives to promote commerce by sharing the knowledge, tools, and resources required to succeed as an entrepreneur. SBDC efforts forge partnerships with regional stakeholders, uniting public and private advocates in a cohesive business development program.
Whether you’re just getting started, formulating business strategies, or preparing to expand your venture in to the next phase of operation, the SBDC Network can help you explore opportunities, overcome professional challenges, and manage your business as it grows.