Addressing Real World Issues
Edited by Robert Stimson and Kingsley E. Haynes
Chapter 9: Geographical dimensions of federal investment in small business development
Recognizing the increasingly important role of entrepreneurship in economic development, policy-makers at United States (US) federal, state and local levels have initiated or sponsored several programs to support new businesses and small businesses. At the federal level in the US, the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) program introduced in 1977 by the Small Business Administration (SBA) offered one-stop assistance to small businesses through local branch offices. The services provided cover for nearly all aspects of small business management such as organization, production, financing, marketing, procurement assistance, international trade, technical assistance and assistance applying for Small Business Innovation and Research (SBIR) grants from federal agencies. The SBDC program is a cooperative effort while the SBA offers 50 percent or less of operating funds and matching funds are provided by state governments, chambers of commerce, economic development corporations, private foundations, universities or colleges, and/or others.1 Another federal effort assisting small firms is the SBIR program that was introduced by the Congress in 1982 (reauthorized in 1992 and 2002). According to this program, 11 federal agencies2 allocate at least 2.5 percent of their research and development (R & D) budget to support small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) for innovation projects. The program was designed as three phases: Haynes and Qian (2010) provide a detailed introduction of the program. Public efforts at the state or local levels feature the business incubation program aiming at the successful development of start-up and fledgling companies. Entities pursuing business incubation – called business incubators – provide entrepreneurs with a variety of resources and services such as shared facilities administrative services, business knowledge training, marketing assistance, accounting and financial management, investor and strategic partner linkages, and networking (Wiggins and Gibson, 2003).
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