Directions for the Sustainable Development and Competitiveness of Regions
New Horizons in Regional Science series
Edited by Charlie Karlsson, Börje Johansson and Roger R. Stough
Chapter 13: The location of business support programs: does the knowledge context matter?
The important role of entrepreneurship in economic development has become widely accepted (Acs and Audretsch, 2003). One important way to measure the level of entrepreneurship is through the presence of new and small firms. In the USA, new businesses or start-up firms play an important role in creating jobs, driving growth and introducing innovations to market. New firms account for all the positive job growth (Haltiwanger et al., 2010). New firm formation is also positively associated with economic growth of US regions (Acs and Armington, 2006). Moreover, the results of empirical studies (Acs and Audretsch, 1987, 1988) indicate that small firms are more innovative than large firms in terms of innovations per employee. Recognizing the increasingly important role of entrepreneurship in economic development, policy makers at federal, state and local levels have initiated or sponsored several programs to support new businesses and small businesses. At the federal level, the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) program was introduced in 1977 by the Small Business Administration (SBA), offering one-stop assistance to small businesses through local branch offices. Services provided by SBDC offices cover nearly all aspects of small business management such as organization, production, financing, marketing, procurement assistance, international trade, technical assistance and assistance in applying for Small Business Innovation and Research (SBIR) grants from federal agencies. The SBDC program is a cooperative effort where the SBA offers 50 percent or less of the operating funds which are matched by state governments, chambers of commerce, economic development corporations, private foundations, universities or colleges and/or others.
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