UTSA Small Business Development Center awarded $1.5M to serve country

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SBDCNet client businesses in New Orleans

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(July 24, 2013) -- The U.S. Small Business Administration has awarded the South-West Texas Border Small Business Development Center (SBDC) Network, headquartered at The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA), a five-year, $1.5 million contract to host the Small Business Development Center National Information Clearinghouse (SBDCNet), which services the United States and its territories.

It is the first time in the history of SBDCNet that an institution has hosted the program for four consecutive terms.

"The SBDCNet is a service that our clients say 'places big business tools into the hands of small businesses,'" said SBDCNet Director Deborah Schueneman. "The information that we provide to SBDC clients nationwide is information and data not normally available to them without a tremendous investment of time and money. Each request for information is customized to a client's particular industry, geography, financial and market trends."

SBDCNet is dedicated to meeting the needs of the 1,100 small business development centers (SBDC) across the United States by providing timely, relevant, Web-based information and training services to SBDC advisors and their clients. Using Web-based subscription services and other databases available through the UTSA Libraries, SBDCNet researchers can collect data on industry trends, geography and demography, customer profiles, competitive company details, regulations, intellectual property, location suitability and more. From any address, a ring study analysis can plot suppliers, competitors and consumer trends up to a 90-mile radius.

The current financial crisis has created complicated economic conditions for small business. Lenders often view small businesses and start-ups as risky investments and may be reluctant to provide business loans. With business plans supported by solid research, entrepreneurs are better prepared to approach lenders for startup or venture capital. While demographic and consumer research can be cost prohibitive, SBDCNet can provide these helpful tools at little or no charge.

"UTSA's vision for Tier One continues to focus on research, academic excellence and an international reach," said Albert Salgado, director of the South-West Texas Border SBDC. "UTSA's Institute for Economic Development and its programs such as the SBDC National Information Clearinghouse will further help fulfill its vision to become a viable player in the global market, strengthening the economy of San Antonio, the state of Texas and this great nation. Together we will drive growth, jobs and futures for small businesses."

Since its inception in 1998, the SBDCNet has responded to more than 65,000 requests and serves as the research arm for the SBDC network. During fiscal year 2012, SBDCNet completed 5,940 research requests, each consisting of five reports totaling nearly 30,000 individual research requests.

For more information about the SBDCNet, contact Deborah Schueneman at 210-458-2465.

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About the IED

The UTSA Institute for Economic Development is dedicated to creating jobs, growing businesses and fostering economic development. Its 12 centers and programs provide professional business advising, technical training, research and strategic planning for entrepreneurs, business owners and community leaders. Programs serve San Antonio and the Texas-Mexico border area as well as regional, national and international stakeholders. Together with federal, state and local governments, and private businesses, the UTSA Institute for Economic Development fosters economic and community development in support of UTSA's community engagement mission.

About UTSA

The University of Texas at San Antonio is an emerging Tier One research institution specializing in health, energy, security, sustainability, and human and social development. With nearly 31,000 students, it is the largest university in the San Antonio metropolitan region. UTSA advances knowledge through research and discovery, teaching and learning, community engagement and public service. The university embraces multicultural traditions and serves as a center for intellectual and creative resources as well as a catalyst for socioeconomic development and the commercialization of intellectual property -- for Texas, the nation and the world.