Frequently Asked Questions
What is the FSBDCN?
A network of Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs) in Florida referred to as the Florida Small Business Development Center Network (FSBDCN). The FSBDCN program is administered by the State Office in Pensacola. Our SBDCs are hosted primarily by universities and colleges located throughout Florida. Each SBDC provides professionalconsulting and business expertise in their area to small business owners or those who want to start a business in Florida. The FSBDCN is a non-profit organization funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration and hosted by the University of West Florida. The purpose of the SBDC program is to deliver, through certified professionals, consulting, training and information to help businesses succeed and create positive impact for the Florida economy.
Does the FSBDCN or the local SBDCs lend money?
Neither the FSBDC nor the local SBDCs lend money. Your local SBDC can help you locate sources of financing and help you prepare the necessary business planning documents to apply for a loan. However, you must apply through the normal application process for a loan, and you must supply all the pertinent records required. All Small Business Administration (SBA) loans and loan guarantees are handled through banks.
What services do the local SBDCs offer?
The local SBDCs offer everything from extensive one-on-one consulting and small group workshops to large group meetings on important business topics. Training topics cover many areas of business operations including Business Start-up, Financial and Cash Flow Analysis, Accounting and Recordkeeping, Marketing and Sales, and Business Planning.
Do the SBDCs charge for services?
The SBDCs do not charge for consulting services but occasionally there are minimal fees for seminars and workshops.
Does the FSBDCN have a SBDC in my area?
There are approximately 40 centers located throughout Florida, from Pensacola to Key West. Click here to find the SBDC nearest you. Additional outreach is provided at approximately 60 circuit rider locations utilizing resource partners such as chambers of commerce, economic development councils, banks, etc.
Where can I get information for starting a small business?
For information about starting a small business visit the SBDC in your area. They will provide you with the information and resources you need to start a small business in your local area.
Can I apply for services on-line?
Yes! Confidential on-line business consulting is available from the SBDC in Florida. A Certified Business Analyst (CBA) from the SBDC in your area conducts the consulting via email or video conferencing.
Does the FSBDCN sell licenses, fictitious names, etc?
The FSBDCN does not sell business licenses, documents of incorporation or fictitious names, etc. Neither the FSBDCN nor any of the SBDCs perform any licensing function at all. The SBDC in your area will assist you with this business function.
Where can I get loans, grants, or other financing for my business?
There are many sources for business financing including bank loans, SBA guaranteed loans, private money, and collateral money. The kind of financing most entrepreneurs seek through commercial lenders is debt financing. Most banks provide debt financing for existing and start-up businesses. SBA loans, which are guaranteed by the SBA, are made by private-sector lenders.
Does the FSBDC Network provide legal patent searches?
The FSBDCN is pleased to offer preliminary patent searches for Florida's inventors. This patent search process is not designed or guaranteed to replace a full legal search. First, Certified Business Analysts at your local SBDC will guide you in business plan preparation and assess the market for your product idea. Then, if you determine that your idea has market potential, the SBDC will perform the preliminary Patent Search. If the report is positive, the SBDC will refer you to patent attorneys, agents or inventor assistance organizations while continuing to assist with your business plan development. The patent searches focus on the patent's abstract information. The patent database can be searched using key words and Boolean combinations. To request a preliminary patent search, contact the SBDC in your area.
How do I qualify for SBDC services?
Workshops are open to any person thinking of starting a business or already in business. Consulting is available to start-ups and existing business owners, although those not yet in business are strongly encouraged to attend at least the "How to STARTUP Your Own Business" workshop. Existing businesses utilizing SBDC services must be considered "small" according to the U.S. Small Business Administration's guidelines. Although the FSBDC's primary focus is for-profit businesses, leaders of non-profit businesses often attend applicable SBDC workshops.
What credentials do SBDC staff and workshop instructors have that qualify them to provide me with business management advice and training?
Our staff brings a wealth of experience, education, and expertise to the small business owner. Certified Business Analysts are required to continue their education by staying up-to-date on the latest small business trends and information. Workshops instructors include staff members and volunteers. These volunteers are experts in their field, from accounting to taxes, from marketing to recordkeeping, they give the small business owner access to professionals.
Will information I discuss with an SBDC Certified Business be kept confidential?
All information shared with the SBDC is maintained strictly confidential and will not be released to any party without the written approval of the small business client. Each client is asked to sign a Request for Consulting form which includes a statement that ensures this confidentiality.
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|A statewide service network funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. SBA, accredited by the national Association of SBDCs and hosted by the University of West Florida|
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Florida SBDC Network State Office
| UWF, Office of Economic Development & Engagement | 11000 University Pkwy, Bldg 38 | Pensacola, FL 32514
1.866.737.7232 or 850.473.7800 | email@example.com