1976-2016

Celebrating Success. Redefining Possibilities.

The year 2016 marks the Florida SBDC Network’s 40th anniversary. In 1976, the U.S. Small Business Administration designated the Florida SBDC as one of eight pilot programs in the country. In the forty years since, the Florida SBDC Network has grown, from what once began as one man at the University of West Florida overseeing two centers in Northwest Florida, to a vibrant statewide partnership over 40 centers and nearly 250 employees providing tools, training, and expertise to thousands of Florida’s entrepreneurs and small business owners annually. Join us this year at a Florida SBDC in your community and online as we celebrate our past, present, and future.

Join the Conversation

Follow the Florida SBDC online and join the conversation about the 40th anniversary by using the #FSBDC40 hashtag.

Explore Our History

Forty Years of Success and Impact

The forty year-story of how the Florida SBDC Network has grown chronicles the commitment of federal and state policymakers, college and university officials, private and public sector partners, dedicated personnel, and the more than 1.1 million small businesses it’s served. Learn more about our history by exploring the timeline below.

  • 10 Years (1976-1985):

    • Founded by SBA as 1 of 8 original pilot SBDC programs
    • Began with one man and two centers at UWF
    • National legislation authorizes SBDCs
    • Network expands to include USF, FSU, FAMU, UCF, UNF, FAU, FIU, UM
    • Government contracting becomes statewide priority
    • Serves nearly 150,000 entrepreneurs and small business owners
  • 20 Years (1986-1995):

    • One of first states to develop professional development certification program
    • International trade becomes statewide priority
    • Client businesses report more than $1.8 billion in government contract awards
  • 30 Years (1996-2005):

    • FGCU joins as regional host
    • 4 Hurricanes devastate Florida; disaster assistance becomes statewide priority
    • Mobile Assistance Centers provide assistance in rural areas and on-site in times of disaster
    • Receives accreditation through National Association of SBDCs
    • Client businesses report more than $684 million in capital formation
  • 40 Years (2006-2016):

    • Governor signs [Fl. Stat. 288.001] designating the FSBDC as Florida’s principal provider of business assistance
    • Designated as State of Florida Center by the Florida Board of Governors
    • IRSC and PBSC join as regional hosts
    • Vibrant statewide partnership of over 40 centers and 250 employees with over 100 strategic, host, and investing partners
    • Since 1976, more than 1.1 million entrepreneurs served
    • FSBDC becomes largest network in the country
    • FSBDC celebrates 40th anniversary

Services

Business Solutions for Every Stage of Growth

The Florida SBDC provides existing and aspiring small businesses and entrepreneurs with confidential, no-cost consulting and resources for every stage of business growth—from hire to acquire and everything in between.  No matter if a business has been in existence for a hundred years, or is just starting out, the Florida SBDC Network has the right specialized tools and expertise to help them find success.

  • Innovate

    Have you been thinking about turning your dream into a reality?

    Get Started >
  • Launch

    It’s official your business is open. Congratulations! But, now what?

    Get Started >
  • Grow

    Business is good, but not growing. How can you take it to the next level?

    Get Started >
  • Renew

    There comes a time in every business when change is needed.

    Get Started >
  • Transition

    Where do you want to go with your business? Do you have a plan?

    Get Started >
  • “I want to congratulate the Florida SBDC in general , certainly the Florida SBDC at the University of North Florida with Jan Donaldson heading it up and their staff.... Read More

    Wilfredo Gonzalez, U.S. SBA North Florida District Director

    Wilfredo G.
    U.S. Small Business Administration North Florida

  • “Small businesses are Florida’s economy. One in three businesses is a small business and most people who work are employed by small businesses. Small businesses are key... Read More

    Dr. Mark B. Rosenberg, President of FIU

    Mark B.
    Florida International University

  • “We are pleased to host the Florida SBDC here on FGCU’s campus…Most of the businesses in Southwest Florida are small businesses so the services and resources offered by... Read More

    Wilson B.
    Florida Gulf Coast University

  • “Prior to our business planning with FSBDC, our vision and plan was often whimsical and changed from season to season. Since working with Dorian, I have found that razor... Read More

    Thomas V.
    East Hill Honey Company, LLC

Explore Stories

Your Stories. Our History

The Florida SBDC helps thousands of small business owners each year thanks to the support of our partners and staff. During the Florida SBDC’s 40th Anniversary Celebration, we are sharing stories of our clients, partners, and staff to illustrate why the Florida SBDC Network is passionate about serving our state’s small businesses and how lives and communities are transformed through this collaboration.

Read More Stories

Share Your Story!

Your Story Can Help Others.

We each have our own unique experiences and, collectively, our stories, which create the fabric that comprises our organization. As part of our anniversary, we’d like to share your story. Our hope is that by sharing stories, we can inspire others to join in helping create a better Florida for all. Tell us about:

  • Why you do what you do
  • What your business/position means to you
  • The impact of entrepreneurship in your community
  • Your favorite client/small business
  • How the Florida SBDC made a difference in your life

Stories will be shared on our website and on social media using the #FSBDC40 hashtag. Submissions will be moderated. By submitting your story, you grant permission to the Florida SBDC Network to use the information, pictures, and video for public information and educational purposes.

  • Accepted file types: jpg, png.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Future

Success Starts Here - Let Us Help

We’re passionate about helping small businesses. So we’ve spent the last forty years honing and developing our services to meet the unique and ever-changing needs of small businesses—and we don’t plan on stopping soon. Learn more about our services and get started on your path to success by contacting us today.

Become a Client

Thinking of starting a business, or looking to grow your existing business? We can help.

Start a BusinessGrow a Business

Attend Training

Florida SBDCs offer workshops on topics ranging from the basics to advanced business management skills.

Find Training