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Small Business Development Center Network Celebrates Success
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The Central California Small Business Development Center Network (Central CA SBDC) will commemorate the second annual SBDC Day on Wednesday, March 21.

SBDC Day is a national event to raise awareness about the service offering provided by local and regional SBDC networks and recognize the collective economic effects of America’s SBDCs on the business community.

The Central CA SBDC Network is one of 63 state/regional programs. It covers 14 counties, 51,000 square miles and more than 4 million people in Central California. In addition to the program university host, UC Merced, the network has a strong leadership team that comprises five other service center hosts: Cal Poly, Cal Coastal, CSU Bakersfield, Valley Sierra and Clovis Community College.

SBDCs provide knowledge, education and expertise small businesses are often missing. SBDCs help their clients with everything from taxes, nancing, marketing, training or networking and help them overcome challenges, discover new opportunities and unlock their potential so their businesses can soar to new heights. With 1,000 centers across the country, SBDCs provide business consulting to small businesses and aspiring entrepreneurs throughout the United States and its territories.

Small businesses are the engine of economic growth. There are more than 22 million small businesses in America. Small businesses account for 99 percent of all U.S. businesses. They employ 53 percent of the private work force and contribute more than half of the nation's private gross domestic product. They account for 99 percent of all U.S. firms and employ 57 million people.

In the past few years, the Central CA-SBDC network has robustly helped foster entrepreneurship and a more vibrant business community by helping open 1,482 new businesses, assisting clients in creating 7,407 jobs and retaining more than 2,461 jobs, providing business consulting assistance to nearly 21,000 clients; and offering training events that included more than 52,000 entrepreneurs.

“We are excited to be part of this national recognition to celebrate the SBDC which helps clients succeed,” said Diane Howerton, regional director.

Central CA SBDC was awarded the SBA contract in 2003 to serve 14 counties in Central California: San Luis Obispo, San Benito, Monterey, Stanislaus, Merced, Madera, Tuolumne, Mariposa, Fresno, Kings, Tulare, Kern, Mono, and Inyo. The mission of the network is to promote the development and growth of small businesses by providing high-quality business assistance throughout Central California thereby enhancing regional prosperity.

UC Merced opened in 2005 as the newest campus in the University of California system and the first American research university built in the 21st century. The campus enjoys a special connection with nearby Yosemite National Park, is on the cutting edge of sustainability in construction and design, and supports highly qualified first-generation and underserved students from the San Joaquin Valley and throughout California. The Merced 2020 Project, a $1.3 billion public-private partnership that is unprecedented in higher education, will nearly double the physical capacity of the campus and support enrollment growth to 10,000 students.