Wisconsin SBDC celebrates 40 years of helping businesses

The Wisconsin Small Business Development (SBDC) Network is celebrating its 40th anniversary in 2020 as one of the first SBDCs in the country. U.S. Sen. Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin paved the way for this critical assistance to new and existing businesses by spearheading the Small Business Development Act of 1980.

Today, the Wisconsin SBDC Network’s no-cost, confidential consulting and business education are accessible to anyone anywhere across 13 locations. In 2019, the SBDC served 4,658 clients, resulting in $91.3 million in capital investment, 300 new businesses and 19,717 jobs supported.

“Small businesses are the heart of our communities and economies,” said Bon Wikenheiser, state director. “We are grateful to be a trusted resource for business owners, whether they’re writing a business plan, looking for financing, exploring new markets, developing new products, ramping up their marketing or preparing to sell to the next generation.”

The University of Wisconsin System has hosted the Wisconsin SBDC since its inception, with the state’s first centers at UW-Eau Claire, UW-Green Bay, UW-La Crosse, UW-Madison, UW-Milwaukee, UW-Oshkosh, UW-Parkside, UW-Platteville, UW-Stevens Point, UW-Superior and UW-Whitewater. This partnership, a financial match to U.S. Small Business Administration funding, has been integral to its success throughout its 40-year history.

“Our universities are proud partners of the SBDC network and know what a vital service it provides to businesses in our communities,” said UW System President Ray Cross. “Collaborating with Wisconsin’s SBDCs to help the state’s most innovative and creative entrepreneurs find success reflects UW System’s longstanding commitment to the Wisconsin Idea and our mission to serve the people of Wisconsin.”

An anniversary highlight will be March 18, 2020, the fourth annual SBDC Day, which celebrates the collective impact and success of SBDCs across the nation and in local communities. Small businesses, partners and advocates are invited to use the hashtag #SBDCDay and #SBDCsCelebrate40.

With nearly 1,000 locations across the country, SBDCs provide local businesses and entrepreneurs with the resources needed to succeed. In 2018, America’s SBDC clients experienced annual sales growth of 17.7 percent, almost four and a half times more than the national average. SBDC assistance resulted in 99,194 jobs created, $7 billion in sales growth, $5.6 billion in capital investments, and 16,499 new businesses started.

“SBDC clients give their SBDCs 4.4 out of 5 stars, and 93 percent of SBDC clients recommend their SBDCs to other small businesses. With 40 years of expertise, proven ROI and stellar client ratings, it’s clear that America’s SBDCs are the nation’s most trusted small business resource,” said Charles “Tee” Rowe, President & CEO of America’s SBDC.

This release is reprinted from the SBDC