Small Business Management and Technical Assistance Training Programs




Small Business Management and Technical
Assistance Training Programs

Updated June 28, 2021
Congressional Research Service
https://crsreports.congress.gov
R41352




Small Business Management and Technical Assistance Training Programs

Summary
The Small Business Administration (SBA) has provided managerial and technical assistance
training to small businesses since it began operations in 1953. Initially, the SBA provided its own
training programs. Over time, the SBA has relied increasingly on third parties to provide that
training.
The SBA received $241 million in regular appropriations for its training programs in FY2021,
plus an additional $50 million in supplemental appropriations for Microloan Technical Assistance
grants. In addition, P.L. 116-136, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act
(CARES Act), among other provisions, appropriated $265 million for SBA’s training programs in
FY2020, to remain available through FY2021, to assist small businesses adversely affected by the
novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Congressional interest in the SBA’s training programs has increased in recent years, primarily
because these programs are viewed as a means to assist small businesses create and retain jobs.
These programs fund about “14,000 resource partners,” including 62 lead small business
development centers (SBDCs) and nearly 900 SBDC local outreach locations, 136 women’s
business centers (WBCs), and more than 250 chapters of the mentoring program, SCORE. The
SBA reports that nearly 1 million aspiring entrepreneurs and small business owners receive
training from an SBA-supported resource partner each year.
The Department of Commerce also provides management and technical assistance training for
small businesses. For example, its Minority Business Development Agency provides training to
minority business owners to assist them in obtaining contracts and financial awards.
Some have argued that the SBA should eliminate some training programs to reduce duplication of
services across federal agencies. Others have argued that the SBA should improve cooperation
and coordination among the SBA’s resource partners. Congress has also explored ways to
improve the SBA’s measurement of these programs’ effectiveness.
This report examines the historical development of SBA’s training programs; describes their
current structures, operations, and budgets; and assesses their administration and oversight and
the measures used to determine their effectiveness. It also discusses recent legislation affecting
these programs, including
 P.L. 115-141, the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2018, which relaxed
requirements that Microloan intermediaries may spend no more than 25% of
Microloan technical assistance grant funds on prospective borrowers and no more
than 25% of those funds on contracts with third parties to provide that technical
assistance by increasing those percentages to no more than 50%;
 as mentioned, the CARES Act, among other provisions, appropriated $265
million for the SBA’s entrepreneurial development programs ($192 million for
SBDCs, $48 million for WBCs, and $25 million for a new SBA Resource Partner
Association grant program); and
 P.L. 117-2, the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, appropriated $100 million for
the Community Navigator Pilot program to provide outreach, education, and
technical assistance to small businesses. The SBA’s management and technical
assistance resource partners are among the entities eligible to compete for a
Community Navigator grant.
Congressional Research Service

link to page 5 link to page 6 link to page 11 link to page 13 link to page 14 link to page 16 link to page 16 link to page 19 link to page 20 link to page 22 link to page 23 link to page 25 link to page 25 link to page 28 link to page 29 link to page 30 link to page 30 link to page 31 link to page 33 link to page 35 link to page 35 link to page 35 link to page 36 link to page 37 link to page 37 link to page 41 link to page 42 link to page 8 link to page 8 link to page 16 link to page 22 link to page 22 link to page 27 link to page 29 link to page 30 link to page 45 link to page 45 Small Business Management and Technical Assistance Training Programs

Contents
Introduction ..................................................................................................................................... 1
Federal Management and Technical Assistance Training Programs ............................................... 2
Small Business Development Centers ....................................................................................... 7
Legislation .......................................................................................................................... 9
Microloan Technical Assistance Program ............................................................................... 10
Legislation ........................................................................................................................ 12
Women’s Business Centers ..................................................................................................... 12
Legislation ........................................................................................................................ 15
Veterans Business Development Programs ............................................................................. 16
Legislation ........................................................................................................................ 18
SCORE (Service Corps of Retired Executives) ...................................................................... 19
Legislation ........................................................................................................................ 21
Program for Investment in Micro-entrepreneurs (PRIME) ..................................................... 21
7(j) Management and Technical Assistance Program ............................................................. 24
Native American Outreach Program ....................................................................................... 25
SBA Initiatives ........................................................................................................................ 26
Entrepreneurial Development Initiative (Regional Innovation Clusters) ......................... 26
Entrepreneurial Education (Emerging Leaders) ................................................................ 27
Growth Accelerators ......................................................................................................... 29
Department of Commerce Small Business Management and Technical Assistance
Training Programs ...................................................................................................................... 31
The Minority Business Development Agency ........................................................................ 31
The EDA Local Technical Assistance Program....................................................................... 32
Congressional Issues ..................................................................................................................... 33
Program Administration .......................................................................................................... 33
Program Evaluation ................................................................................................................. 37
Concluding Observations .............................................................................................................. 38

Tables
Table 1. SBA Management and Technical Assistance Programs, Specified and
Recommended Appropriations, FY2019-FY2022........................................................................ 4
Table 2. Microloan Technical Assistance Program, FY2014-FY2020 .......................................... 12
Table 3. Office of Veterans Business Development Assistance, By Program, FY2014-
FY2020 ....................................................................................................................................... 18
Table 4. PRIME Grant Awards, FY2014-FY2020 ......................................................................... 23
Table 5. 7(j) Assistance, FY2014-FY2020 .................................................................................... 25
Table 6. Native American Assistance, FY2014-FY2020 ............................................................... 26

Table A-1. Brief Descriptions of SBA Management and Technical Assistance Training
Programs .................................................................................................................................... 41

Congressional Research Service

link to page 45 link to page 45 link to page 47 Small Business Management and Technical Assistance Training Programs

Appendixes
Appendix. Brief Descriptions of SBA Management and Technical Assistance Training
Programs .................................................................................................................................... 41

Contacts
Author Information ........................................................................................................................ 43

Congressional Research Service

link to page 45 Small Business Management and Technical Assistance Training Programs

Introduction
The Small Business Administration (SBA) administers several programs to support small
businesses, including loan guaranty programs to enhance small business access to capital;
programs to increase small business opportunities in federal contracting; direct loans for
businesses, homeowners, and renters to assist their recovery from natural disasters; and access to
entrepreneurial education to assist with business formation and expansion. The SBA has provided
“technical and managerial aides to small-business concerns, by advising and counseling on
matters in connection with government procurement and on policies, principles and practices of
good management” since it began operations in 1953.1
Initially, the SBA provided its own management and technical assistance training programs
(hereinafter training programs). Over time, the SBA has relied increasingly on third parties to
provide that training. Nearly 1 million aspiring entrepreneurs and small business owners receive
training from an SBA-supported resource partner each year.2
The SBA has argued that its support of small business training has contributed “to the long-term
success of these businesses and their ability to grow and create jobs.”3 It currently provides
financial support to about 14,000 resource partners, including 62 small business development
centers (SBDCs) and nearly 900 SBDC local outreach locations, 136 women’s business centers
(WBCs), and more than 250 chapters of the mentoring program, SCORE (Service Corps of
Retired Executives).4
This report examines the historical development of the SBA’s training programs; describes their
current structures, operations, and budgets; and assesses their administration and oversight,
including measures used to determine their effectiveness. A brief description of each of these
programs is provided in the Appendix.
This report also discusses recent legislation affecting these programs, including
 P.L. 114-88, the Recovery Improvements for Small Entities After Disaster Act of
2015 (RISE After Disaster Act of 2015), which, among other things, authorizes
the SBA to provide up to two years of additional financial assistance, on a
competitive basis, to SBDCs, WBCs, SCORE, or any proposed consortium of
such individuals or entities to assist small businesses located in a presidentially
declared major disaster area and authorizes SBDCs to provide assistance to small
businesses outside the SBDC’s state, without regard to geographical proximity to
the SBDC, if the small business is in a presidentially declared major disaster

1 U.S. Congress, Senate Committee on Banking and Currency, Extension of the Small Business Act of 1953, report to
accompany S. 2127, 84th Cong., 1st sess., July 22, 1955, S.Rept. 84-1350 (Washington: GPO, 1955), p. 17.
2 U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), FY2022 Congressional Budget Justification and FY2020 Annual
Performance Report
, p. 22, at https://www.sba.gov/document/report-congressional-budget-justification-annual-
performance-report (hereinafter SBA, FY2022 Congressional Budget Justification and FY2020 Annual Performance
Report
).
3 SBA, Fiscal Year 2011 Congressional Budget Justification and FY2009 Annual Performance Report, p. 4, at
https://www.sba.gov/sites/default/files/aboutsbaarticle/Congressional_Budget_Justification.pdf.
4 SBA, “SBA Launches Largest Expansion of Women’s Business Centers in 30 Years,” January 4, 2021, at
https://www.sba.gov/article/2021/jan/04/sba-launches-largest-expansion-womens-business-centers-30-years; and SBA,
“Women’s Business Centers Directory,” at https://www.sba.gov/local-assistance/find/?type=
Women%27s%20Business%20Center&pageNumber=1; SCORE, “Find a Location,” at https://www.score.org/content/
find-location; and SCORE, “About SCORE,” at https://www.score.org/about-score.
Congressional Research Service

1

Small Business Management and Technical Assistance Training Programs

area. This assistance can be provided “for a period of not more than two years
after the date on which the President” has declared the area a major disaster.5
 P.L. 115-141, the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2018, which, among other
provisions, relaxed requirements that Microloan intermediaries may spend no
more than 25% of Microloan technical assistance grant funds on prospective
borrowers and no more than 25% of those funds on contracts with third parties to
provide that technical assistance by increasing those percentages to no more than
50%.
 P.L. 116-136 (CARES Act), which, among other provisions, appropriated an
additional $265 million for the SBA’s training programs in FY2020, with
funding remaining available through FY2021, to assist small businesses
adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic: $192 million for SBDCs; $48
million for WBCs; and $25 million for a new SBA Resource Partner Association
Grant program to establish a single, online centralized hub for COVID-19
information and a COVID-19-related training program for SBDC, WBC,
SCORE, and veteran business outreach center (VBOC) counselors.6
 P.L. 116-260, the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021, which among other
provisions, appropriated an additional $50 million for Microloan Technical
Assistance Program grants.
 P.L. 117-2, the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, appropriated $100 million for
the Community Navigator Pilot Program to provide outreach, education, and
technical assistance to small businesses. The SBA’s management and technical
assistance resource partners are among the entities eligible to compete for a
Community Navigator grant.
Federal Management and Technical Assistance
Training Programs
The SBA’s training programs are funded through the SBA’s Entrepreneurial Development
Program account, which includes appropriations for the SBA’s noncredit programs. Congress
specifies the appropriation amount for SBDCs and the Microloan Technical Assistance Program
in its annual appropriation act and includes recommended appropriation amounts for the SBA’s
other training programs in either the explanatory statement or the committee report accompanying

5 P.L. 114-88 also, among other things, increases, for three years, the minimum disaster loan amount for which the
SBA may require collateral, from $14,000 to $25,000 (or, as under existing law, any higher amount the SBA
determines appropriate in the event of a disaster); provides a contracting preference for small businesses located in a
disaster area if the small business concern will perform the work required under the contract in the disaster area; and
doubles the value of the contract for purposes of determining agency compliance with federal small business
procurement goals.
6 As of May 2020, the SBA had awarded $191.6 million in supplemental appropriations to SBDCs and $44.7 million to
WBCs for management and technical assistance to small businesses. Also, America’s SBDC, which represents the
nationwide network of SBDCs, in conjunction with the Association of WBCs, received $18.6 million from the SBA’s
Resource Partners Grant Program to create a Resource Partners Training Portal—a single centralized online platform
for COVID-19-related information. See SBA, Office of Inspector General (OIG), Evaluation of SBA’s Award
Procedures for the CARES Act Entrepreneurial Development Cooperative Agreements
, Report Number 21-11, March
30, 2021, pp. 1-2, at https://www.sba.gov/document/report-21-11-evaluation-sbas-award-procedures-cares-act-
entrepreneurial-development-cooperative-agreements.
Congressional Research Service

2

link to page 8 Small Business Management and Technical Assistance Training Programs

the appropriations act. The SBA is not legally required to adhere to the recommended amounts
but has traditionally done so in the past.
As shown in Table 1, the SBA receives appropriations for eight statutorily authorized training
programs and three training initiatives:
 SBDCs ($136 million in FY2021);
 Microloan Technical Assistance ($85 million in FY2021);
 WBCs ($23 million in FY2021);
 Veterans Programs, including the Service-Disabled Veteran Entrepreneurship
Training Program (SDVETP), the Veteran Federal Procurement Entrepreneurship
Training Program, Veterans Business Outreach Centers, Boots to Business,
Veteran Women Igniting the Spirit of Entrepreneurship [VWISE],
Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities, and Boots to
Business: Reboot ($14 million in FY2021);
 SCORE ($12.2 million in FY2021);
 the Program for Investment in Microentrepreneurs (PRIME, $5.5 million in
FY2021);
 7(j) Technical Assistance ($2.8 million in FY2021);
 Native American Outreach (NAO, $2 million in FY2021);
 the Entrepreneurial Development initiative (Regional Innovation Clusters, $6
million in FY2021);
 the Entrepreneurship Education initiative ($2.5 million in FY2021); and
 the Growth Accelerators initiative ($2 million in FY2021).7
Other noncredit programs under the SBA’s Entrepreneurial Development Program account
include
 HUBZone administration ($3 million in FY2021);
 the National Women’s Business Council ($1.5 million in FY2021);
 the Step Trade and Export Promotion (STEP) Pilot Grant program, which awards
grants to states to assist eligible small businesses with exporting ($19.5 million in
FY2021);8
 the Cybersecurity for Small Business Pilot Program, which will award up to three
grants to states to assist small businesses with access to cybersecurity tools ($3
million in FY2021);9 and

7 P.L. 116-260, the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021.
8 P.L. 111-240, the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010, authorized the Step Trade and Export Promotion (STEP) Pilot
Grant program for three years and appropriated $30 million for the program both in FY2011 and FY2012. The SBA
awarded STEP grants to states with the goal of assisting eligible small businesses with exporting in FY2011 and
FY2012. The STEP program’s authorization expired at the end of FY2013. STEP was subsequently appropriated $8
million FY2014, $17.4 million in FY2015, $18 million in FY2016-FY2019, $19 million in FY2020, and $19.5 million
in FY2021. For additional information and analysis, see CRS Report R43155, Small Business Administration Trade
and Export Promotion Programs
, by Sean Lowry.
9 P.L. 116-260, the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021, authorized the Cybersecurity for Small Business Pilot
Program. The explanatory statement accompanying the act recommended that the program receive $3 million in
FY2021.
Congressional Research Service

3

link to page 8 link to page 9 link to page 9 link to page 9 Small Business Management and Technical Assistance Training Programs

 the Federal and State Technology (FAST) Partnership Program, which provides
grants to states and state-endorsed nonprofit organizations to provide outreach,
financial support, and technical assistance to technology-based small businesses
participating in or interested in participating in the Small Business Innovation
Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs ($4
million in FY2021).10
As shown in Table 1, the SBA received $241 million in regular appropriations for its training
programs in FY2021, plus an additional $50 million in supplemental appropriations for
Microloan Technical Assistance grants.
In addition, as mentioned, the CARES Act, among other provisions, appropriated $265 million
for the SBA’s training programs in FY2020, with funding remaining available through FY2021,
to assist small businesses adversely affected by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Also, the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 appropriated $100 million in FY2021 for the
Community Navigator Pilot Program to provide outreach, education, and technical assistance to
small businesses. The SBA’s management and technical assistance resource partners, state and
local governments, Indian tribes, and private nonprofit organizations are eligible to compete for
Community Navigator grants.
Table 1. SBA Management and Technical Assistance Programs, Specified and
Recommended Appropriations, FY2019-FY2022
($ in millions)
FY2022
Training Program
FY2019
FY2020
FY2021
request
Small Business Development Center Grants
$131.0
$327.0a
$136.0
$136.0
Program
Microloan Technical Assistance Program
$31.0
$34.5
$85.0b
$41.0
Women’s Business Center Grants Program
$18.5
$70.5c
$23.0
$26.0
COVID-19 Resource Partner Association
‒‒
$25.0
‒‒
‒‒
Grants
Veterans Outreach (Veterans Business
$12.7
$14.0
$14.0
$19.0
Outreach Centers, Boots to Business Initiative,
Boots to Business Reboot Initiative, Veteran-
Women Igniting the Spirit of Entrepreneurship
[V-Wise], and Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for
Veterans with Disabilities [EBV])
SCORE (Service Corps of Retired Executives)
$11.7
$11.7
$12.2
$12.2
Entrepreneurial Education Initiative
$3.5
$2.5
$2.5
$4.5
Entrepreneurial Development Initiative
$5.0
$5.0
$6.0
$10.0
(Regional Innovation Clusters)
PRIME Technical Assistance Program
$5.0
$5.5
$5.5
$12.5
7(j) Technical Assistance Program
$2.8
$2.8
$2.8
$9.8

10 The Federal and State Technology (FAST) Partnership Program was initially authorized by P.L. 106-554, the
Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2001. The program expired on September 30, 2005, and was reauthorized by P.L.
111-117, the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2010. The explanatory statement accompanying P.L. 116-260, the
Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021, recommended that FAST receive $4 million in FY2021. Previously, FAST’s
funding was provided through the SBA’s salaries and expenses account.
Congressional Research Service

4

Small Business Management and Technical Assistance Training Programs

FY2022
Training Program
FY2019
FY2020
FY2021
request
Native American Outreach Program
$2.0
$2.0
$2.0
$3.0
Growth Accelerators Initiative
$2.0
$2.0
$2.0
$10.0
Total
$225.2
$502.5
$291.0
$284.0
Sources: P.L. 116-6, the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2019, H.Rept. 116-9, conference report
accompanying the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2019; P.L. 116-93, the Consolidated Appropriations Act,
2020; “Explanatory Statement Submitted by Mrs. Lowey, Chairwoman of the House Committee on
Appropriations Regarding the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2020 (Division C – Financial Services and
General Government Appropriations Act, 2020),” p. 38; U.S. Small Business Administration, FY2021 Congressional
Budget Justification and FY2019 Annual Performance Report
, p. 11, at https://www.sba.gov/document/report-
congressional-budget-justification-annual-performance-report; P.L. 116-136, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and
Economic Security Act (CARES Act); Rep. Nita Lowey, “Explanatory Statement Submitted by Mrs. Lowey,
Chairwoman of the House Committee on Appropriations Regarding H.R. 133, Consolidated Appropriations Act,
2021 (Division E – Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Act, 2021),” Congressional Record,
vol. 166, no. 218-Book IV (December 21, 2020), p. H8443; and U.S. Small Business Administration, FY2022
Congressional Budget Justification and FY2020 Annual Performance Report
, p. 13, at https://www.sba.gov/document/
report-congressional-budget-justification-annual-performance-report.
a. In FY2020, SBDCs were appropriated $135 million by P.L. 116-93, and an additional $192 million by P.L.
116-136.
b. In FY2021, the Microloan Technical Assistance program was appropriated $35 million by P.L. 116-260, the
Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021, and an additional $50 million by the Economic Aid to Hard-Hit
Small Businesses, Nonprofits, and Venues Act (Division N, Title III of the Consolidated Appropriations Act
of 2021).
c. In FY2020, Women Business Centers were appropriated $22.5 million by P.L. 116-93, and an additional $48
million by P.L. 116-136.
The Department of Commerce also provides training for small businesses. For example, the
Department of Commerce’s Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) provides training
to minority business owners to assist them in obtaining contracts and financial awards.11 In
addition, the Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration’s Local
Technical Assistance Program promotes efforts to build and expand local organizational capacity
in economically distressed areas. As part of that effort, it funds projects that focus on technical or
market feasibility studies of economic development projects or programs, which often include
consultation with small businesses.12
For many years, a recurring theme at congressional hearings concerning the SBA’s training
programs was the perceived need to improve program efficiency by eliminating duplication of
services or increasing cooperation and coordination both within and among its training resource
partners. For example, the Obama Administration recommended in its FY2012-FY2017 budget
recommendations that funding for the PRIME technical assistance program end. The Obama
Administration argued that PRIME overlaps and duplicates “the technical assistance provided by

11 U.S. Department of Commerce, Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA), “Annual Performance Report,
Fiscal Year 2015,” pp. 1, 2, at https://www.mbda.gov/sites/default/files/migrated/files-attachments/
2015AnnualPerformanceReport.pdf.
12 13 C.F.R. §306.
Congressional Research Service

5

Small Business Management and Technical Assistance Training Programs

SBA’s microlending intermediaries.”13 The Trump Administration also requested the program’s
elimination.14
The House Committee on Small Business majority argued in each of its annual “Views and
Estimates” letters to the House Budget Committee for FY2013 through FY2019 that the SBA’s
various training programs were duplicative of each other and of programs offered by other federal
agencies.15 As the majority stated in its FY2014 “Views and Estimates” letter, “given tight
budgetary constraints and the need for the SBA to reallocate resources in other critical areas,
entrepreneurial outreach at the SBA should be limited to ... the Small Business Development
(SBDC) Program. All other entrepreneurial outreach efforts at the SBA either overlap with the
SBDC Program or duplicate efforts at other federal agencies.”16 Congress has also explored ways
to improve the SBA’s measurement of these programs’ effectiveness.

13 SBA, FY2012 Congressional Budget Justification and FY2010 Annual Performance Report, p. 4, at
https://www.sba.gov/sites/default/files/aboutsbaarticle/
FINAL%20FY%202012%20CBJ%20FY%202010%20APR_0.pdf. Also, see SBA, FY2014 Congressional Budget
Justification and FY2012 Annual Performance Report
, p. 22, at https://www.sba.gov/sites/default/files/files/1-508-
Compliant-FY-2014-CBJ%20FY%202012%20APR.pdf; and SBA, FY2017 Congressional Budget Justification and
FY2015 Annual Performance Report
, p. 19, at https://www.sba.gov/sites/default/files/FY17-CBJ_FY15-APR.pdf
(hereinafter SBA, FY2017 Congressional Budget Justification and FY2015 Annual Performance Report).
14 SBA, FY2018 Congressional Budget Justification and FY2016 Annual Performance Report, p. 12, at
https://www.sba.gov/sites/default/files/aboutsbaarticle/FINAL_SBA_FY_2018_CBJ_May_22_2017c.pdf (hereinafter
SBA, FY2018 Congressional Budget Justification and FY2016 Annual Performance Report); SBA, FY2019
Congressional Budget Justification and FY2017 Annual Performance Report
, p. 13, at https://www.sba.gov/sites/
default/files/aboutsbaarticle/SBA_FY_2019_CBJ_APR_2_12_post.pdf (hereinafter SBA, FY2019 Congressional
Budget Justification and FY2017 Annual Performance Report
); SBA, FY2020 Congressional Budget Justification and
FY2018 Annual Performance Report
, p. 11, at https://www.sba.gov/sites/default/files/2019-04/
SBA%20FY%202020%20Congressional%20Justification_final%20508%20%204%2023%202019.pdf (hereinafter
SBA, FY2020 Congressional Budget Justification and FY2018 Annual Performance Report); and SBA, FY2021
Congressional Budget Justification and FY2019 Annual Performance Report
, p. 11.
15 U.S. Congress, House Committee on Small Business, “Views and Estimates of the Committee on Small Business on
Matters to be set forth in the Concurrent Resolution on the Budget for FY2013,” communication to the Chairman,
House Committee on the Budget, 112th Cong., 2nd sess., March 7, 2012; U.S. Congress, House Committee on Small
Business, “Views and Estimates of the Committee on Small Business on Matters to be set forth in the Concurrent
Resolution on the Budget for FY2014,” communication to the Chairman, House Committee on the Budget, 113th
Cong., 1st sess., February 27, 2013; U.S. Congress, House Committee on Small Business, “Views and Estimates of the
Committee on Small Business on Matters to be set forth in the Concurrent Resolution on the Budget for FY2015,”
communication to the Chairman, House Committee on the Budget, 113th Cong., 2nd sess., March 25, 2014; U.S.
Congress, House Committee on Small Business, “Views and Estimates of the Committee on Small Business on Matters
to be set forth in the Concurrent Resolution on the Budget for FY2016,” communication to the Chairman, House
Committee on the Budget, 114th Cong., 1st sess., February 12, 2015; U.S. Congress, House Committee on Small
Business, “Views and Estimates of the Committee on Small Business on Matters to be set forth in the Concurrent
Resolution on the Budget for FY2017,” communication to the Chairman, House Committee on the Budget, 114th
Cong., 2nd sess., February 4, 2016; U.S. Congress, House Committee on Small Business, “Views and Estimates of the
Committee on Small Business on Matters to be set forth in the Concurrent Resolution on the Budget for FY2018,”
communication to the Chairman, House Committee on the Budget, 115th Cong., 1st sess., March 1, 2017; and U.S.
Congress, House Committee on Small Business, “Views and Estimates of the Committee on Small Business on Matters
to be set forth in the Concurrent Resolution on the Budget for FY2019,” communication to the Chairman, House
Committee on the Budget, 115th Cong., 2nd sess., February 14, 2018.
16 U.S. Congress, House Committee on Small Business, “Views and Estimates of the Committee on Small Business on
Matters to be set forth in the Concurrent Resolution on the Budget for FY2014,” communication to the Chairman,
House Committee on the Budget, 113th Cong., 1st sess., February 27, 2013, p. 6. Previously, the House Committee on
Small Business had recommended that funding for Women Business Centers, PRIME technical assistance, HUBZone
outreach, and the Offices of Native American Affairs and International Trade be eliminated; and funding for 7(j)
technical assistance, Microloan technical assistance, and the National Women’s Business Council be reduced. See U.S.
Congress, House Committee on Small Business, “Views and Estimates of the Committee on Small Business on Matters
Congressional Research Service

6

Small Business Management and Technical Assistance Training Programs

Small Business Development Centers
In 1976, the SBA created the University Business Development Center pilot program to establish
small business centers within universities to provide counseling and training for small businesses.
The first center was founded at California State Polytechnic University at Pomona in December
1976. Seven more centers were funded over the next six months at universities in seven different
states. By 1979, 16 SBDCs received SBA funding and were providing training to small
businesses.17
The SBDC program was provided statutory authorization by P.L. 96-302, the Small Business
Development Center Act of 1980.18 SBDCs were to “rely on the private sector primarily, and the
university community, in partnership with the SBA and its other programs, to fill gaps in making
quality management assistance available to the small business owner.”19 Although most SBDCs
continued to be affiliated with universities, the legislation authorized the SBA to provide funding
to any State government or any agency thereof, any regional entity, any State-chartered
development, credit or finance corporation, any public or private institution of higher
education, including but not limited to any land-grant college or university, any college or
school of business, engineering, commerce, or agriculture, community college or junior
college, or to any entity formed by two or more of the above entities.20
SBDC funding is allocated on a pro rata basis among the states (defined to include the District of
Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, and American
Samoa) by a statutory formula “based on the percentage of the population of each State, as
compared to the population of the United States.”21 If, as is currently the case, SBDC funding
exceeds $90 million, the minimum funding level is “the sum of $500,000, plus a percentage of
$500,000 equal to the percentage amount by which the amount made available exceeds $90
million.”22
In 1984, P.L. 98-395, the Small Business Development Center Improvement Act of 1984,
required SBDCs, as a condition of receiving SBA funding, to contribute a matching amount equal
to the grant amount, and that the match must be provided by nonfederal sources and be comprised
of not less than 50% cash and not more than 50% of indirect costs and in-kind contributions.23 It

to be set forth in the Concurrent Resolution on the Budget for FY2013,” communication to the Chairman, House
Committee on the Budget, 112th Cong., 2nd sess., March 7, 2012.
17 America’s SBDC, “A Brief History of America’s SBDC Network,” Burke, VA, at https://americassbdc.org/about-us/
a-brief-history/.
18 America’s SBDC, “A Brief History of America’s SBDC Network,” and U.S. Congress, Senate Committee on Small
Business, Oversight of the Small Business Administration’s Small Business Development Center Program, 98th Cong.,
1st sess., February 8, 1983, S.Hrg. 98-31 (Washington: GPO, 1983), p. 2.
19 U.S. Congress, Senate Committee on Small Business, Oversight of the Small Business Administration’s Small
Business Development Center Program
, 98th Cong., 1st sess., February 8, 1983, S.Hrg. 98-31 (Washington: GPO,
1983), p. 2 (hereinafter U.S. Congress, Senate Committee on Small Business, Oversight of the Small Business
Administration’s Small Business Development Center Program
).
20 U.S. Congress, Senate Committee on Small Business, Oversight of the Small Business Administration’s Small
Business Development Center Program
, p. 4.
21 15 U.S.C. 648(a)(4)(C).
22 15 U.S.C. 648(a)(4)(C); and P.L. 106-554, the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2001.
23 For American Samoa, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, the SBA is required to waive the matching requirements
on awards less than $200,000 and has discretion to waive the match for awards exceeding $200,000. See 48 U.S.C.
Section 1469a. Also, there is one exception to the disallowance of federal funds as a cash match. Community
Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds received from the Department of Housing and Urban Development are
Congressional Research Service

7

link to page 8 Small Business Management and Technical Assistance Training Programs

also required SBDCs to have an advisory board and a full-time director who has authority to
make expenditures under the center’s budget. It also required the SBA to implement a program of
onsite evaluations for each SBDC and to make those evaluations at least once every two years.
Today, the SBA provides grants to SBDCs that are “hosted by leading universities, colleges, and
state economic development agencies” to train “small businesses and nascent entrepreneurs (pre-
venture) in order to promote growth, expansion, innovation, increased productivity and
management improvement.”24 These services are delivered, in most instances, on a nonfee, one-
on-one confidential counseling basis and are administered by 62 lead service centers, one located
in each state (four in Texas and six in California), the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico,
the U.S. Virgin Islands, and American Samoa.25 These lead centers manage nearly 900 service
centers located throughout the United States and the territories.26
In FY2020, SBDCs provided training and counseling to 498,557 unique SBDC clients, and
17,312 new businesses were started largely as a result of SBDC training and counseling.27
As shown in Table 1, SBDCs received an appropriation of $131 million in FY2019, $327 million
in FY2020 ($135 million in regular appropriations and $192 million in supplemental
appropriations), and $136 million in FY2021. The Biden Administration has requested $136
million for SBDCs in FY2022.28
In addition, America’s SBDC, which represents the nationwide network of SBDCs, in
conjunction with the Association of WBCs, received $18.6 million in FY2020 from the SBA
Resource Partner Association Grants Program.29 These grants are to be used to establish a single,
online centralized hub for COVID-19 information and a COVID-19-related training program for
SBDC, WBC, SCORE, and veteran business outreach center (VBOC) counselors. Also, as
mentioned, SBDCs are eligible to compete for funding from the American Rescue Plan Act of
2021’s $100 million Community Navigator Pilot Program.
In addition, as mentioned, P.L. 114-88 expanded the role of SBDCs by, among other things
 authorizing the SBA to provide up to two years of additional financial assistance,
on a competitive basis, to SBDCs, WBCs, SCORE, or any proposed consortium
of such individuals or entities to assist small businesses located in a presidentially
declared major disaster area;30 and

allowed when: (1) the SBDC activities are consistent with the authorized CDBG activities for which the funds were
granted; and (2) the CDBG activities are identified in the Consolidated Plan of the CDBG grantee or in the agreement
between the CDBG grantee and the subrecipient of the funds.
24 SBA, “Small Business Development Center Fy/Cy 2011 Program Announcement for Renewal of the Cooperative
Agreement for Current Recipient Organizations,” p. 3, at https://www.sba.gov/sites/default/files/files/
2011%20Program%20Announcement.pdf (hereinafter SBA, “Small Business Development Center Fy/Cy 2011
Program Announcement for Renewal of the Cooperative Agreement for Current Recipient Organizations”).
25 SBA, “Small Business Development Center Fy/Cy 2011 Program Announcement for Renewal of the Cooperative
Agreement for Current Recipient Organizations,” p. 3.
26 Association of Small Business Development Centers, “Welcome,” Burke, Virginia, at https://americassbdc.org/.
27 SBA, FY2022 Congressional Budget Justification and FY2020 Annual Performance Report, p. 82.
28 SBA, FY2022 Congressional Budget Justification and FY2020 Annual Performance Report, p. 13.
29 SBA, OIG, Evaluation of SBA’s Award Procedures for the CARES Act Entrepreneurial Development Cooperative
Agreements
, Report Number 21-11, March 30, 2021, pp. 1-2, at https://www.sba.gov/document/report-21-11-
evaluation-sbas-award-procedures-cares-act-entrepreneurial-development-cooperative-agreements.
30 P.L. 114-88, §2101. The SBA administrator may make one extension of a grant, contract, or cooperative agreement
under this paragraph for a period of not more than one year, upon a showing of good cause and need for the extension.
Congressional Research Service

8

Small Business Management and Technical Assistance Training Programs

 authorizing SBDCs to provide assistance to small businesses outside the SBDC’s
state, without regard to geographical proximity to the SBDC, if the small
business is located in a presidentially declared major disaster area. This
assistance can be provided “for a period of not more than two years after the date
on which the President” has declared the area a major disaster.31
As part of its legislative mandate to evaluate each SBDC, in 2003, the SBA’s Office of
Entrepreneurial Development designed “a multi-year time series study to assess the impact of the
programs it offers to small businesses.”32 The survey was administered annually in partnership
with a private firm.
The 2014 survey (the last one available) was sent to 70,262 SBDC clients who had received five
or more hours of counseling assistance in calendar year 2012. The survey was administered in the
spring and summer of 2013.33 A total of 10,407 surveys (14.8% return rate) were completed either
by mail, email, or the internet.34
The 2014 survey indicated that, of the SBDC clients
 90.7% reported that the services they received from SBDC counselors were
beneficial;35
 87.8% reported that the knowledge and expertise of their SBDC counselor was
excellent (66.0%) or above average (21.8%);36
 86.2% reported that their overall working relationship with their SBDC counselor
was excellent (68.9%) or above average (17.3%);37 and
 94.4% reported that they would recommend that other businesspersons contact
the SBDC.38
Legislation
As mentioned, P.L. 114-88, among other things, authorizes the SBA to provide up to two years of
additional funding to its training resource partners to assist small businesses located in a
presidentially declared major disaster area and authorizes SBDCs to provide assistance outside
the SBDC’s state, without regard to geographical proximity to the SBDC, if the small business is
in a presidentially declared major disaster area. This assistance can be provided “for a period of

31 P.L. 114-88, §2103. The SBA administrator is authorized to extend the two-year limitation.
32 SBA, Office of Entrepreneurial Development, “Impact Study of Entrepreneurial Development Resources,”
September 10, 2009, p. 2.
33 SBA, Office of Entrepreneurial Development, “Correspondence with the author,” November 4, 2015.
34 SBA, Office of Entrepreneurial Development, “Correspondence with the author,” November 4, 2015.
35 SBA, Office of Entrepreneurial Development, “Correspondence with the author,” November 4, 2015.
36 SBA, Office of Entrepreneurial Development, “Correspondence with the author,” November 4, 2015. 8.7% of SBDC
clients reported that the knowledge and expertise of their SBDC counselor was average, 1.5% of SBDC clients reported
that the knowledge and expertise of their SBDC counselor was below average, and 1.9% of SBDC clients reported that
the knowledge and expertise of their SBDC counselor was poor.
37 SBA, Office of Entrepreneurial Development, “Correspondence with the author,” November 4, 2015. 9.3% of SBDC
clients reported that their overall working relationship with their SBDC counselor was average, 2% of SBDC clients
reported that their overall working relationship with their SBDC counselor was below average, and 2.4% of SBDC
clients reported that their overall working relationship with their SBDC counselor was poor.
38 SBA, Office of Entrepreneurial Development, “Correspondence with the author,” November 4, 2015.
Congressional Research Service

9

Small Business Management and Technical Assistance Training Programs

not more than two years after the date on which the President” has declared the area a major
disaster.
During the 116th Congress, H.R. 4406, the Small Business Development Centers Act of 2019,
would have, among other provisions, required the SBA to only use authorized entrepreneurial
development programs (SCORE, WBCs, SBDCs, etc.) “to deliver entrepreneurial development
services, entrepreneurial education, and support for the development and maintenance of the
Regional Innovation Cluster Program (or similar business training services)” and would have
added SBDC data collection and reporting requirements. Similar legislation was introduced
during the 114th Congress (H.R. 207 and S. 999) and the 115th Congress (H.R. 1702 and H.R.
1774).39
As mentioned
 the CARES Act provided SBDCs an additional $192 million to assist small
businesses adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and authorized the
$25 million SBA Resource Partner Association Grants Program;
 America’s SBDC, which represents the nationwide network of SBDCs, in
conjunction with the Association of WBCs, received $18.6 million in FY2020
from the SBA Resource Partner Association Grants Program; and
 SBDCs are eligible to compete for funding from the $100 million Community
Navigator Pilot Program.
Microloan Technical Assistance Program
Congress authorized the SBA’s Microloan lending program in 1991 (P.L. 102-140, the
Departments of Commerce, Justice, and State, the Judiciary, and Related Agencies Appropriations
Act, 1992) to address the perceived disadvantages faced by women, low-income, veteran, and
minority entrepreneurs and business owners gaining access to capital for starting or expanding
their business. The program became operational in 1992. Its stated purpose is
to assist women, low-income, veteran ... and minority entrepreneurs and business owners
and other individuals possessing the capability to operate successful business concerns; to
assist small business concerns in those areas suffering from a lack of credit due to economic
downturns; ... to make loans to eligible intermediaries to enable such intermediaries to
provide small-scale loans, particularly loans in amounts averaging not more than $10,000,
to start-up, newly established, or growing small business concerns for working capital or
the acquisition of materials, supplies, or equipment; [and] to make grants to eligible
intermediaries that, together with non-Federal matching funds, will enable such
intermediaries to provide intensive marketing, management, and technical assistance to
microloan borrowers.40
Initially, the SBA’s Microloan program was authorized as a five-year demonstration project. It
was made permanent, subject to reauthorization, by P.L. 105-135, the Small Business
Reauthorization Act of 1997.

39 The House-passed version of H.R. 2810, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2018, included
provisions similar to those concerning WBCs, SBDCs, and SCORE in H.R. 1774. These provisions were not included
in the Senate-passed version of H.R. 2810 or in the bill’s final version (P.L. 115-91, the National Defense
Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2018).
40 15 U.S.C. §636 7(m)(1)(A).
Congressional Research Service

10

link to page 8 link to page 16 Small Business Management and Technical Assistance Training Programs

The SBA’s Microloan Technical Assistance Program, which is affiliated with the SBA’s
Microloan lending program but receives a separate appropriation, provides grants to Microloan
intermediaries to train Microloan program borrowers and prospective borrowers.41 There are
currently 155 active Microloan intermediaries serving 49 states, the District of Columbia, and
Puerto Rico.42
Intermediaries are eligible to receive a Microloan technical assistance grant “of not more than
25% of the total outstanding balance of loans made to it” under the Microloan program.43 Grant
funds may be used only to provide marketing, management, and technical assistance to Microloan
borrowers, except that no more than 50% of the funds may be used to provide such assistance to
prospective Microloan borrowers and no more than 50% of the funds may be awarded to third
parties to provide that assistance. Grant funds also may be used to attend required training.44
In most instances, intermediaries must contribute, solely from nonfederal sources, an amount
equal to 25% of the grant amount.45 In addition to cash or other direct funding, the contribution
may include indirect costs or in-kind contributions paid for under nonfederal programs.46 The
program’s matching requirement is being waived from December 27, 2020, through September
30, 2021.47
The SBA does not require Microloan borrowers to participate in the Microloan Technical
Assistance Program. However, intermediaries typically require Microloan borrowers to
participate in the training program as a condition of the receipt of a microloan. Combining loan
and intensive management and technical assistance training is one of the Microloan program’s
distinguishing features.48
The program was appropriated $31 million in FY2019, $34.5 million in FY2020, and $85 million
in FY2021 ($35 million through regular appropriations and $50 million in supplemental
appropriations (see Table 1). The Biden Administration has requested $41 million for the
Microloan Technical Assistance Program in FY2022.49
As shown in Table 2, the Microloan Technical Assistance Program provided training and
counseling to 23,550 small businesses in FY2020, and there were 155 grant eligible microloan
intermediaries.

41 For further analysis of the SBA’s Microloan program, see CRS Report R41057, Small Business Administration
Microloan Program
, by Robert Jay Dilger.
42 SBA, FY2022 Congressional Budget Justification and FY2020 Annual Performance Report, p. 34. For a list of
Microloan intermediaries by state, see SBA, “List of Lenders,” at https://www.sba.gov/partners/lenders/microloan-
program/list-lenders.
43 15 U.S.C. §636(m)(4)(A).
44 13 C.F.R. §120.712.
45 13 C.F.R. §120.712.
46 13 C.F.R. §120.712. Intermediaries may not borrow their contribution.
47 See the Economic Aid to Hard-Hit Small Businesses, Nonprofits, and Venues Act (Division N, Title III of the
Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021, §329).
48 Intermediaries that make at least 25% of their loans to small businesses located in or owned by residents of an
Economically Distressed Area (defined as having 40% or more of its residents with an annual income that is at or
below the poverty level), or have a portfolio of loans made under the program that averages not more than $10,000
during the period of the intermediary’s participation in the program are eligible to receive an additional training grant
equal to 5% of the total outstanding balance of loans made to the intermediary. Intermediaries are not required to make
a matching contribution as a condition of receiving these additional grant funds. See 13 C.F.R. §120.712; and 15 U.S.C.
§636(m)(4)(C)(i).
49 SBA, FY2022 Congressional Budget Justification and FY2020 Annual Performance Report, p. 13.
Congressional Research Service

11

Small Business Management and Technical Assistance Training Programs

Table 2. Microloan Technical Assistance Program, FY2014-FY2020
# of Grant
Eligible
# of Clients
Microloan
FY
Advised
Intermediaries
2020
23,550
155
2019
22,100
144
2018
21,800
147
2017
19,600
144
2016
17,948
140
2015
17,200
137
2014
15,668
137
Source: U.S. Small Business Administration, FY2021 Congressional Budget Justification and FY2019 Annual
Performance Report, p. 36, at https://www.sba.gov/document/report-congressional-budget-justification-annual-
performance-report; and U.S. Small Business Administration, FY2022 Congressional Budget Justification and FY2020
Annual Performance Report, p. 34, at https://www.sba.gov/document/report-congressional-budget-justification-
annual-performance-report.
Legislation
As mentioned, P.L. 115-141, among other provisions, relaxed requirements that Microloan
intermediaries may spend no more than 25% of Microloan technical assistance grant funds on
prospective borrowers and no more than 25% of those funds on contracts with third parties to
provide that assistance by increasing those percentages to no more than 50%.50
During the 116th Congress, as mentioned, the Microloan Technical Assistance program was
appropriated $35 million in FY2021 by P.L. 116-260, the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021,
and an additional $50 million by the Economic Aid to Hard-Hit Small Businesses, Nonprofits,
and Venues Act (Division N, Title III of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021).
Women’s Business Centers
The Women’s Business Center (WBC) Renewable Grant Program was initially established by
P.L. 100-533, the Women’s Business Ownership Act of 1988, as the Women’s Business
Demonstration Pilot Program. The act directed the SBA to provide financial assistance to private,
nonprofit organizations to conduct demonstration projects giving financial, management, and
marketing assistance to small businesses, including start-up businesses, owned and controlled by
women. Since its inception, the program has targeted the needs of socially and economically
disadvantaged women.51 The program was provided statutory authorization to continue as a pilot
program for an additional four years (through October 1, 1995) in 1991, an additional two years
in 1994, and in any year that the program received appropriations in 1997.52

50 These provisions were originally in H.R. 2056, Microloan Modernization Act of 2017, and S. 526, the Microloan
Modernization Act of 2018.
51 U.S. Congress, House Committee on Small Business, Review of Women’s Business Center Program, 106th Cong.,
February 11, 1999, Serial No. 106-2 (Washington: GPO, 1999), p. 4.
52 See P.L. 102-191, the Women’s Business Development Act of 1991; P.L. 103-403, the Small Business
Administration Reauthorization and Amendments Act of 1994; and P.L. 105-135, the Small Business Reauthorization
Congressional Research Service

12

Small Business Management and Technical Assistance Training Programs

Since the program’s inception, the SBA has awarded WBCs a grant of up to $150,000 per year.53
Initially, the grant was awarded for one year, with the possibility of being renewed twice, for a
total of up to three years. In 1997, P.L. 105-135, the Small Business Reauthorization Act of 1997,
allowed WBCs to receive funding for up to five years (an initial year and four option years) and
substituted provisions relating to the women’s business center program for provisions relating to
the women’s business demonstration pilot program.
In 1999, P.L. 106-165, the Women’s Business Centers Sustainability Act of 1999, provided WBCs
that had completed the initial five-year grant an opportunity to apply for an additional five-year
sustainability grant. Thus, the act allowed successful WBCs to receive SBA funding for a total of
10 years.54
In 2005, P.L. 109-108, the Science, State, Justice, Commerce, and Related Agencies
Appropriations Act, 2006, explicitly provided the WBC program permanent statutory
authorization.55 In 2007, P.L. 110-28, the U.S. Troop Readiness, Veterans’ Care, Katrina
Recovery, and Iraq Accountability Appropriations Act, 2007, repealed the statutory language
authorizing the sustainability grants program and replaced it by allowing WBCs that had
completed five years in the program to receive continued funding for additional three-year
periods, with no limit on the number of renewals.
Initially, as a condition of the receipt of funds, the WBC was required to raise at least one
nonfederal dollar for each two federal dollars during the grant’s first year (1:2), one nonfederal
dollar for each federal dollar during year two (1:1), and two nonfederal dollars for each federal
dollar during year three (2:1).56 Over the years, Congress has extended the length of the WBC
program’s grant award and reduced the program’s matching requirement.
Today, WBC initial grants are awarded for up to five years, consisting of a base period of 12
months from the date of the award and four 12-month option periods. The SBA determines if the
option periods are exercised and makes that determination subject to the continuation of program
authority, the availability of funds, and the recipient organization’s compliance with federal law,
SBA regulations, and the terms and conditions specified in a cooperative agreement. As
mentioned, WBCs that successfully complete the initial five-year grant period may apply for an
unlimited number of three-year funding intervals.
During their initial five-year grant period, WBCs are now required to provide a nonfederal match
of one nonfederal dollar for each two federal dollars in years one and two (1:2), and one

Act of 1997.
53 P.L. 110-28, the U.S. Troop Readiness, Veterans’ Care, Katrina Recovery, and Iraq Accountability Appropriations
Act, 2007, set the WBC grant limit at $150,000.
54 Because the WBC program has permitted permanent three-year funding intervals since 2007, the sustainability grants
were phased out by FY2012, leaving the initial five-year grants with the continuous three-year option. See SBA,
FY2012 Congressional Budget Justification and FY2010 Annual Performance Report, p. 49, at https://www.sba.gov/
sites/default/files/aboutsbaarticle/FINAL%20FY%202012%20CBJ%20FY%202010%20APR_0.pdf.
55 P.L. 105-135, the Small Business Reauthorization Act of 1997, is sometimes referenced as providing the WBC
program permanent statutory authorization because it provided authorization for the program in any year that it
received appropriations.
56 Matching contributions must come from nonfederal sources such as state and local governments, private individuals,
corporations and foundations, and program income. Community Development Block Grant funds, when permissible
under the terms of that program, may also be used as a match. At least half of the nonfederal match must be in the form
of cash. SBA, “Women’s Business Center (Initial Grant), FY2011” at http://www.sba.gov/sites/default/files/files/
Program%20Announcement%20OWBO-2011-01-1%20-%20New%20WBC%20in%20Idaho.pdf.
Congressional Research Service

13

link to page 8 Small Business Management and Technical Assistance Training Programs

nonfederal dollar for each federal dollar in years three, four and five (1:1).57 After the initial five-
year grant period, the matching requirement in subsequent three-year funding intervals is not
more than 50% of federal funding (1:1).58 The nonfederal match may consist of cash, in-kind, and
program income.59
Today, there are 136 WBCs located throughout most of the United States and the territories.60 In
FY2020, WBCs provided training and counseling to 82,466 unique WBC clients, and 2,216 new
businesses were started largely as a result of WBC training and counseling.61
Congress recommended that the WBC program receive $18.5 million in FY2019, $70.5 million in
FY2020 ($22.5 million in regular appropriations and $48 million in supplemental appropriations),
and $23 million in FY2021 (see Table 1). The Biden Administration has requested $26 million
for WBCs in FY2022.62
In addition, as mentioned, America’s SBDC, which represents the nationwide network of SBDCs,
in conjunction with the Association of WBCs, received $18.6 million in FY2020 from the SBA
Resource Partner Association Grants Program.63 WBCs are also eligible to compete for funding
from the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021’s $100 million Community Navigator Pilot Program.
P.L. 105-135 required the SBA to “develop and implement an annual programmatic and financial
examination of each” WBC.64 As part of its legislative mandate to implement an annual
programmatic and financial examination of each WBC, the SBA’s Office of Entrepreneurial
Development included WBCs in the previously mentioned multiyear time series study of its
entrepreneurial development programs.
The firm administering the 2013 survey of SBA training clients (the last one available concerning
WBC clients) contacted 2,997 WBC clients and received 529 completed surveys (17.7% return
rate).65 The survey indicated that

57 P.L. 105-135 reduced the program’s matching to one nonfederal dollar for each two federal dollars in years one
through three rather than just during the first year (1:2), one nonfederal dollar for each federal dollar in year four rather
than during year two (1:1), and two nonfederal dollars for each federal dollar in year five rather than in year three (2:1).
P.L. 106-17, the Women’s Business Center Amendments Act of 1999, reduced the program’s matching requirement to
one nonfederal dollar for each two federal dollars in years one and two (1:2), and one nonfederal dollar for each federal
dollar in years three, four and five (1:1).
58 P.L. 110-28 reduced the federal share to not more than 50% for all grant years (1:1) following the initial five-year
grant.
59 P.L. 105-135 specified that not more than one-half of the nonfederal sector matching assistance may be in the form
of in-kind contributions that are budget line items only, including office equipment and office space.
60 SBA, “SBA Launches Largest Expansion of Women’s Business Centers in 30 Years,” January 4, 2021, at
https://www.sba.gov/article/2021/jan/04/sba-launches-largest-expansion-womens-business-centers-30-years; and SBA,
“Women’s Business Centers Directory,” at https://www.sba.gov/tools/local-assistance/wbc.
61 SBA, FY2022 Congressional Budget Justification and FY2020 Annual Performance Report, p. 84.
62 SBA, FY2022 Congressional Budget Justification and FY2020 Annual Performance Report, p. 13.
63 SBA, OIG, Evaluation of SBA’s Award Procedures for the CARES Act Entrepreneurial Development Cooperative
Agreements
, Report Number 21-11, March 30, 2021, pp. 1-2, at https://www.sba.gov/document/report-21-11-
evaluation-sbas-award-procedures-cares-act-entrepreneurial-development-cooperative-agreements.
64 P.L. 105-135, §29. Women’s Business Center Program.
65 SBA, Office of Entrepreneurial Development, “Impact Study of Entrepreneurial Dynamics: Office of Entrepreneurial
Development Resource Partners’ Face-to-Face Counseling,” September 2013, p. 8, at https://www.sba.gov/sites/
default/files/files/OED_ImpactReport_09302013_Final.pdf (hereinafter SBA, Office of Entrepreneurial Development,
“Impact Study of Entrepreneurial Dynamics: Office of Entrepreneurial Development Resource Partners’ Face-to-Face
Counseling”).
Congressional Research Service

14

Small Business Management and Technical Assistance Training Programs

 80% of WBC clients reported that the services they received from counselors
were useful or very useful, 2% had no opinion, and 18% reported that the
services they received from counselors were somewhat useful or not useful;66
 61% of WBC clients reported that they changed their management
practices/strategies as a result of the assistance they received;67 and
 the top five changes to management practices involved their business plan (56%),
marketing plan (46%), general management (36%), cash flow analysis (31%),
and financial strategy (30%).68
Legislation
As mentioned
 P.L. 114-88 expanded the role of WBCs by authorizing the SBA to provide up to
two years of additional financial assistance, on a competitive basis, to SBDCs,
WBCs, SCORE, or any proposed consortium of such individuals or entities to
assist small businesses located in a presidentially declared major disaster area.69
 The CARES Act provided WBCs an additional $48 million to assist small
businesses adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and authorized the
$25 million SBA Resource Partner Association Grants Program.
 America’s SBDC, which represents the nationwide network of SBDCs, in
conjunction with the Association of WBCs, received $18.6 million in FY2020
from the SBA Resource Partner Association Grants Program.
 WBCs are eligible to compete for funding from the American Rescue Plan Act of
2021’s $100 million Community Navigator Pilot Program.
The CARES Act also waived the WBC matching requirement for three months following
enactment (which took place on March 27, 2020). This waiver was made retroactive to March 27,
2020, and extended through June 30, 2021, by the Economic Aid to Hard-Hit Small Businesses,
Nonprofits, and Venues Act (Division N, Title III of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of
2021).
In addition, H.R. 4406, the Small Business Development Centers Act of 2019, would have,
among other provisions, required the SBA to only use authorized entrepreneurial development
programs (SCORE, WBCs, SBDCs, etc.) “to deliver entrepreneurial development services,
entrepreneurial education, and support for the development and maintenance of the Regional
Innovation Cluster Program (or similar business training services).”
H.R. 4405, the Women’s Business Centers Improvements Act of 2019, would have, among other
provisions, authorized to be appropriated $31.5 million for WBCs for each of FY2020-FY2023
(WBCs received $22.5 million in FY2020 and $23 million in FY2021); increased the WBC

66 SBA, Office of Entrepreneurial Development, “Impact Study of Entrepreneurial Dynamics: Office of Entrepreneurial
Development Resource Partners’ Face-to-Face Counseling,” p. 19.
67 SBA, Office of Entrepreneurial Development, “Impact Study of Entrepreneurial Dynamics: Office of Entrepreneurial
Development Resource Partners’ Face-to-Face Counseling,” p. 20.
68 SBA, Office of Entrepreneurial Development, “Impact Study of Entrepreneurial Dynamics: Office of Entrepreneurial
Development Resource Partners’ Face-to-Face Counseling,” p. 21.
69 P.L. 114-88, §2101. The SBA administrator may make one extension of a grant, contract, or cooperative agreement
under this paragraph for a period of not more than one year, upon a showing of good cause and need for the extension.
Congressional Research Service

15

Small Business Management and Technical Assistance Training Programs

annual grant award from not more than $150,000 to not more than $300,000 (adjusted annually to
reflect change in inflation); and authorized the SBA to waive, in whole or in part, the WBC
nonfederal matching requirement for up to two consecutive fiscal years under specified
circumstances.70 Similar legislation was introduced during the 114th Congress (H.R. 207 and S.
2126) and 115th Congress (H.R. 1774).
Veterans Business Development Programs
The SBA has supported training for veteran-owned small businesses since its formation as an
agency. However, during the 1990s, some in Congress noted that a direct loan program for
veterans was eliminated by the SBA in 1995 and that the “training and counseling for veterans
dropped from 38,775 total counseling sessions for veterans in 1993 to 29,821 sessions in 1998.”71
Concerned that “the needs of veterans have been diminished systematically at the SBA,”
Congress adopted P.L. 106-50, the Veterans Entrepreneurship and Small Business Development
Act of 1999.72
The act reemphasized the SBA’s responsibility “to reach out to and include veterans in its
programs providing financial and technical assistance.”73 It also included veterans as a target
group for the SBA’s 7(a), 504/CDC, and Microloan programs. In addition, it required the SBA to
enter into a memorandum of understanding with SCORE to, among other things, establish “a
program to coordinate counseling and training regarding entrepreneurship to veterans through the
chapters of SCORE throughout the United States.”74 The act also directed the SBA to enter into a
memorandum of understanding with SBDCs, the Department of Veteran Affairs, and the National
Veterans Business Development Corporation “with respect to entrepreneurial assistance to
veterans, including service-disabled veterans.”75 It specified, among other things, that the SBA
conduct and distribute studies on the formation, management, financing, marketing, and operation
of small business concerns by veterans; provide training and counseling on these topics to
veterans; assist veterans regarding procurement opportunities with federal, state, and local
agencies, especially agencies funded in whole or in part with federal funds; and provide internet
or other distance-learning academic instruction for veterans in business subjects, including
accounting, marketing, and business fundamentals.76
The SBA’s Office of Veterans Business Development (OVBD) was established to address these
statutory requirements.77 The OVBD currently administers several training programs to assist
veteran-owned businesses, including the following:

70 The specified circumstances include the consideration of the economic conditions affecting the recipient
organization; the waiver’s impact on the women’s business center program’s credibility; the recipient organization’s
demonstrated ability to raise nonfederal funds; and the recipient organization’s performance.
71 U.S. Congress, House Committee on Small Business, Veterans Entrepreneurship and Small Business Development
Act of 1999
, report to accompany H.R. 1568, 106th Cong., 1st sess., June 29, 1999, H.Rept. 106-206 (Washington: GPO,
1999), pp. 14, 15 (hereinafter U.S. Congress, House Committee on Small Business, Veterans Entrepreneurship and
Small Business Development Act of 1999
).
72 U.S. Congress, House Committee on Small Business, Veterans Entrepreneurship and Small Business Development
Act of 1999
, pp. 14, 15.
73 U.S. Congress, House Committee on Small Business, Veterans Entrepreneurship and Small Business Development
Act of 1999
, p. 14.
74 P.L. 106-50, §301. Score Program.
75 P.L. 106-50, §302. Entrepreneurial Assistance.
76 P.L. 106-50, §302. Entrepreneurial Assistance.
77 SBA, FY2016 Congressional Budget Justification and FY2014 Annual Performance Report, p. 97, at
Congressional Research Service

16

Small Business Management and Technical Assistance Training Programs

 The Service-Disabled Veteran Entrepreneurship Training Program (SDVETP)
“provides service-disabled veterans, military spouses, and caregivers, with
entrepreneurial training, business development assistance, counseling, and
management assistance.”78 There are currently four grantees fulfilling the
SDVETP grant.
 The Veteran Women Igniting the Spirit of Entrepreneurship (V-WISE) program,
administered through a cooperative agreement with Syracuse University, offers
women veterans a 15-day, online course on entrepreneurship skills and the
“language of business,” followed by a 3-day conference (offered twice a year at
varying locations) in which participants “are exposed to successful entrepreneurs
and CEOs of Fortune 500 companies and leaders in government” and participate
in courses on business planning, marketing, accounting and finance, operations
and production, human resources, and work-life balance.79
 The Veteran Federal Procurement Entrepreneurship Training Program,
administered through a cooperative agreement with the Veteran Institute for
Procurement, assists “veteran and service-disabled veteran small business owners
and entrepreneurs in getting “contract ready” and securing federal government
contracts.”80
 The Boots to Business program (started in 2012), which is “an elective track
within the Department of Defense’s revised Training Assistance Program called
Transition Goals, Plans, Success (Transition GPS) and has three parts: the
Entrepreneurship Track Overview—a 10-minute introductory video shown
during the mandatory five-day Transition GPS course which introduces
entrepreneurship as a post-service career option; Introduction to
Entrepreneurship—a two-day classroom course on entrepreneurship and business
fundamentals offered as one of the three Transition GPS elective tracks; and
Foundations of Entrepreneurship—an eight-week, instructor-led online course
that offers in-depth instruction on the elements of a business plan and tips and
techniques for starting a business.”81
 The Boots to Business Reboot program (started in 2014) assists veterans who
have already transitioned to civilian life.82
 The Veterans Business Outreach Centers (VBOC) program provides veterans and
their spouses training at 22 locations, including assistance with the Boots to
Business program, the development and maintenance of a five-year business

https://www.sba.gov/sites/default/files/1-FY%202016%20CBJ%20FY%202014%20APR.PDF.
78 SBA, FY2021 Congressional Budget Justification and FY2019 Annual Performance Report, p. 97.
79 Syracuse University, “Women Veterans Igniting the Spirit of Entrepreneurship (V-WISE),” Syracuse, NY, at
http://vwise.vets.syr.edu/; and SBA, “SBA Expands Entrepreneurship Boot Camp for Vets: Announces Two New
Programs for Women Vets, Guard, Reservists and Families,” November 10, 2010, at https://www.sba.gov/sites/default/
files/news_release_10-63.pdf.
80 SBA, FY2021 Congressional Budget Justification and FY2019 Annual Performance Report, p. 97; and Veteran
Institute for Procurement, “About the Veteran Institute for Procurement,” at https://nationalvip.org/ViewPage/
About%20VIP/About%20the%20Veteran%20Institute%20for%20Procurement/.
81 SBA, “Operation Boots to Business: From Service to Startup,” at https://www.sba.gov/offices/headquarters/ovbd/
resources/160511; and SBA, “Operation Boots to Business: Fact Sheet,” at https://www.sba.gov/sites/default/files/files/
B2B_Fact%20Sheet.pdf (hereinafter SBA, “Operation Boots to Business: From Service to Startup”).
82 SBA, “Operation Boots to Business: From Service to Startup,” pp. 90, 99.
Congressional Research Service

17

link to page 8 link to page 22 Small Business Management and Technical Assistance Training Programs

plan, and referrals to other SBA resource partners when appropriate for additional
training or mentoring services.83
Prior to FY2016, Congress recommended appropriations for VBOCs and the Boots to Business
program. Funding for the OVBD’s other veterans assistance programs was provided through the
SBA’s salaries and expenses account. Starting in FY2016, Congress has recommended a single
amount for all OVBD programs (currently $14 million) (see Table 1). The Biden Administration
has requested $19 million for the OVBD in FY2022.84
As shown in Table 3, VBOCs trained or advised 46,025 veterans in FY2020, and 21,799 veterans
participated in the Boots to Business initiative.
Table 3. Office of Veterans Business Development Assistance, By Program,
FY2014-FY2020
Veterans
Business
Outreach
Boots to Business
FY
Centers
Program
2020
46,025
21,799
2019
41,860
16,528
2018
51,945
17,167
2017
48,839
17,320
2016
47,342
17,966
2015
62,117
14,457
2014
78,124
14,684
Source: U.S. Small Business Administration, FY2021 Congressional Budget Justification and FY2019 Annual
Performance Report
, pp. 94, 95, at https://www.sba.gov/document/report-congressional-budget-justification-
annual-performance-report; and U.S. Small Business Administration, FY2022 Congressional Budget Justification and
FY2020 Annual Performance Report
, pp. 90, 92, at https://www.sba.gov/document/report-congressional-budget-
justification-annual-performance-report.
Legislation
During the 116th Congress, H.R. 3537, the Veteran Entrepreneurship Training Act of 2019, and S.
1998, the Veterans Small Business Ownership Improvements Act, would have, among other

83 SBA, “Veterans Business Outreach Centers,” at https://www.sba.gov/offices/headquarters/ovbd/resources/1548576.
There were 14 VBOCs in 2015 and 20 in 2017. VBOC grants, starting at $180,000, “are made for up to a three-year
period of performance, consisting of a base period of 12 months from the date of award and up to two renewal option
periods of 12 months each. Exercise of the option periods will be solely at SBA’s discretion and is subject to
continuing program authority, the availability of funds, and the recipient’s continued satisfactory performance and
compliance.” Also, “funding per VBOC will vary based on proposed Boots to Business (B2B) program delivery and
associated outreach.” See SBA, Office of Veterans Business Development, “FY 2015 Program Announcement No.
VBOC-2015-02,” pp. 6-7, at https://www.sba.gov/offices/headquarters/ovbd/spotlight. In FY2013, the Veterans
Business Outreach Centers Program conducted its ninth annual “Customer Satisfaction Survey.” 91% of the clients
using the centers were satisfied or highly satisfied with the quality, relevance, and timeliness of the assistance provided.
See SBA, FY2015 Congressional Budget Justification and FY2013 Annual Performance Report, p. 81, at
https://www.sba.gov/sites/default/files/2018-06/Fiscal%20year%202015.zip.
84 SBA, FY2022 Congressional Budget Justification and FY2020 Annual Performance Report, p. 13.
Congressional Research Service

18

Small Business Management and Technical Assistance Training Programs

provisions, provided the Boots to Business program statutory authorization. Similar legislation
was introduced during the 114th Congress (S. 1866) and 115th Congress (H.R. 5193 and S. 121).
SCORE (Service Corps of Retired Executives)
The SBA has partnered with various voluntary business and professional service organizations to
provide training to small businesses since the 1950s. On October 5, 1964, using authority under
the Small Business Act to provide “technical and managerial aids to small business concerns” in
cooperation with “educational and other nonprofit organizations, associations, and institutions,”
then-SBA Administrator Eugene P. Foley officially launched SCORE (Service Corps of Retired
Executives) as a national, volunteer organization with 2,000 members, uniting more than 50
independent nonprofit organizations into a single, national nonprofit organization.85 Since then,
the SBA has provided financial assistance to SCORE to provide training to small business owners
and prospective owners.86
Over the years, Congress has authorized the SBA to take certain actions relating to SCORE. For
example, P.L. 89-754, the Demonstration Cities and Metropolitan Development Act of 1966,
authorized the SBA to permit members of nonprofit organizations use of the SBA’s office
facilities and services. P.L. 90-104, the Small Business Act Amendments of 1967, added the
authority to pay travel and subsistence expenses “incurred at the request of the Administration in
connection with travel to a point more than fifty miles distant from the home of that individual in
providing gratuitous services to small businessmen” or “in connection with attendance at
meetings sponsored by the Administration.”87 P.L. 93-113, the Domestic Volunteer Service Act of
1973, was the first statute to mention SCORE directly, providing the Director of ACTION
authority to work with SCORE to “expand the application of their expertise beyond Small
Business Administration clients.”88 P.L. 95-510, a bill to amend the Small Business Act, provided
the SBA explicit statutory authorization to work with SCORE (Section 8(b)(1)(B)). P.L. 106-554,
the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2001 (Section 1(a)(9)—the Small Business Reauthorization
Act of 2000) authorized SCORE to solicit cash and in-kind contributions from the private sector
to be used to carry out its functions.

85 P.L. 83-163, the Small Business Act of 1953; and U.S. Congress, Senate Select Committee on Small Business, Small
Business Administration - 1965
, 89th Cong., 1st sess., May 19, 1965 (Washington: GPO, 1965), pp. 21, 45; and SCORE
(Service Corps of Retired Executives), “Milestones in SCORE History,” Washington, DC, at https://www.score.org/
node/147953.
86 U.S. Congress, Senate Select Committee on Small Business and House Select Committee on Small Business, 1966
Federal Handbook for Small Business: A Survey of Small Business Programs in the Federal Government Agencies
,
committee print, 89th Cong., 3rd sess., January 31, 1966 (Washington: GPO, 1966), p. 5; and U.S. Congress, House
Committee on Small Business, Subcommittee on Rural Development, Entrepreneurship, and Trade, Subcommittee
Hearing on Legislative Initiatives to Modernize SBA’s Entrepreneurial Development Programs
, 111th Cong., 1st sess.,
April 2, 2009 (Washington: GPO, 2009), p. 6.
87 U.S. Congress, Senate Select Committee on Small Business, Small Business Act, 90th Cong., 1st sess., November 22,
1967 (Washington: GPO, 1967), pp. 13, 14.
88 P.L. 93-113, the Domestic Volunteer Service Act of 1973, §302. Authority to Establish, Coordinate, and Operate
Programs. ACTION was created on July 1, 1971, by President Richard M. Nixon (Reorganization Plan Number One
and Executive Order 11603) to oversee several federal volunteer agencies, including the Peace Corps, VISTA
(Volunteers in Service to America); and SCORE. P.L. 103-82, the National and Community Service Trust Act of 1993,
directed that ACTION be merged with the Commission on National and Community Service to form the Corporation
for National and Community Service, which became operational in 1994. See Corporation for National and Community
Service, “National Service Timeline,” Washington, DC, at https://nationalservice.gov/about/who-we-are/national-
service-timeline.
Congressional Research Service

19

link to page 8 Small Business Management and Technical Assistance Training Programs

The SBA currently provides grants to SCORE to provide in-person mentoring, online training,
and “nearly 9,000 local training workshops annually” to small businesses.89 SCORE’s more than
250 chapters are located throughout the United States and partner with more than 10,000
volunteer counselors, who are working or retired business owners, executives and corporate
leaders, to provide training assistance to small businesses “at no charge or at very low cost.”90
In FY2020, SCORE provided training and counseling to 142,347 unique SCORE clients, and 128
new businesses were started largely as a result of SCORE training and counseling.91
Congress recommended that SCORE receive $11.7 million in FY2019 and FY2020, and $12.2
million in FY2021 (see Table 1). The Biden Administration has requested $12.2 million for
SCORE in FY2022.92
The SBA Office of Entrepreneurial Development included SCORE in the multiyear time series
study to assess its programs’ effectiveness. The 2014 survey was sent to 124,612 SCORE clients
who had a valid email address and received at least one mentoring session in any form
(telephone, online/email, in-person, or other form) during FY2013 (October 2012-September
2013). The survey was initially distributed by email, and telephone calls were used as a follow-up
to ensure at least 30 responses were received from each responding SCORE chapter. The survey
was administered between October 2013 and December 2013.93 A total of 13,548 surveys (10.9%
return rate) were completed either by email or telephone, representing 318 of SCORE’s then-330
chapters.94
The 2014 survey indicated that, of the SCORE clients
 60.9% reported that they strongly agreed (32.2%) or agreed (28.7%) with the
following statement: SCORE is important to my success;95
 44.8% reported that they strongly agreed (18.4%) or agreed (26.4%) with the
following statement: As a result of working with SCORE, I have changed my
business strategies or practices;96
 32.6% reported that they strongly agreed (12.1%) or agreed (20.5%) with the
following statement: Working with SCORE helped me add employees in the past
year;97 and

89 SBA, FY2013 Congressional Budget Justification and FY2011 Annual Performance Report, p. 45, at
https://www.sba.gov/sites/default/files/files/FY%202015%20CBJ%20FY%202013%20APR%20FINAL%20508(1).pdf
90 SCORE (Service Corps of Retired Executives), “About SCORE,” Washington, DC, at https://www.score.org/about-
score.
91 SBA, FY2022 Congressional Budget Justification and FY2020 Annual Performance Report, p. 85.
92 SBA, FY2022 Congressional Budget Justification and FY2020 Annual Performance Report, p. 13.
93 SBA, Office of Entrepreneurial Development, “Correspondence with the author,” November 4, 2015.
94 SBA, Office of Entrepreneurial Development, “Correspondence with the author,” November 4, 2015.
95 SBA, Office of Entrepreneurial Development, “Correspondence with the author,” November 4, 2015. 23.8% reported
that they were neutral in response to the following statement: SCORE is important to my success; 7.2% disagreed, and
8.1% strongly disagreed.
96 SBA, Office of Entrepreneurial Development, “Correspondence with the author,” November 4, 2015. 20.9% reported
that they were neutral in response to the following statement: As a result of working with SCORE, I have changed my
business strategies or practices; 8.2% disagreed, 9.8% strongly disagreed, and 6.4% did not reply or indicated they
don’t know.
97 SBA, Office of Entrepreneurial Development, “Correspondence with the author,” November 4, 2015. 27% reported
that they were neutral in response to the following statement: Working with SCORE helped me add employees in the
past year; 17.4% disagreed, and 13.6% strongly disagreed.
Congressional Research Service

20

Small Business Management and Technical Assistance Training Programs

 51.8% reported that they strongly agreed (17.0%) or agreed (34.8%) with the
following statement: Working with SCORE helped me grow my business
revenue.98
Legislation
As mentioned, P.L. 114-88 expanded SCORE’s role by authorizing the SBA to provide up to two
years of additional financial assistance, on a competitive basis, to SBDCs, WBCs, SCORE, or
any proposed consortium of such individuals or entities to assist small businesses located in a
presidentially declared major disaster area.99
During the 116th Congress, H.R. 4406, the Small Business Development Centers Act of 2019,
would have, among other provisions, required the SBA to only use authorized entrepreneurial
development programs (SCORE, WBCs, SBDCs, etc.) “to deliver entrepreneurial development
services, entrepreneurial education, and support for the development and maintenance of the
Regional Innovation Cluster Program (or similar business training services).”
H.R. 4407, the SCORE for Small Business Act of 2019, would have specifically authorized the
SBA to enter into a cooperative agreement with SCORE to carry out the SCORE program. The
bill also would have provided a list of SBA and SCORE duties, and, among other provisions,
required SCORE to implement webinars and other online training, centralize its accounting and
finance systems (in response to a SBA Office of Inspector General (OIG) report that was critical
of SCORE’s accounting and finance systems), and limit SCORE employee compensation to the
maximum rate of pay allowable for SBA Senior Executive Service employees.100 Similar
legislation concerning SBA and SCORE duties was introduced during the 114th Congress (H.R.
4788 and S. 1000) and 115th Congress (H.R. 1700 and S. 2034).
Program for Investment in Micro-entrepreneurs (PRIME)
P.L. 106-102, the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (of 1999) (Subtitle C—Microenterprise Technical
Assistance and Capacity Building Program), amended P.L. 103-325, the Riegle Community
Development and Regulatory Improvement Act of 1994, to authorize the SBA to “establish a
microenterprise technical assistance and capacity building grant program.”101 The program was to
“provide assistance from the Administration in the form of grants” to
nonprofit microenterprise development organizations or programs (or a group or
collaborative thereof) that has a demonstrated record of delivering microenterprise services
to disadvantaged entrepreneurs; an intermediary; a microenterprise development
organization or program that is accountable to a local community, working in conjunction
with a state or local government or Indian tribe; or an Indian tribe acting on its own, if the

98 SBA, Office of Entrepreneurial Development, “Correspondence with the author,” November 4, 2015. 26.9%
reported that they were neutral in response to the following statement: Working with SCORE helped me grow my
business revenue; 10.1% disagreed, and 11.2% strongly disagreed.
99 P.L. 114-88, §2101. The SBA administrator may make one extension of a grant, contract, or cooperative agreement
under this paragraph for a period of not more than one year, upon a showing of good cause and need for the extension.
100 SBA, OIG, Audit of SBA’s Oversight of the SCORE Association, Report Number 19-12, April 25, 2019, at
https://www.sba.gov/document/report-19-12-audit-sbas-oversight-score-association.
101 P.L. 106-102, the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, §173. Establishment of Program.
Congressional Research Service

21

Small Business Management and Technical Assistance Training Programs

Indian tribe can certify that no private organization or program referred to in this paragraph
exists within its jurisdiction.”102
The SBA was directed “to ensure that not less than 50% of the grants … are used to benefit very
low-income persons, including those residing on Indian reservations.”103 It was also directed to
(1) provide training and technical assistance to disadvantaged entrepreneurs; (2) provide
training and capacity building services to microenterprise development organizations and
programs and groups of such organizations to assist such organizations and programs in
developing microenterprise training and services; (3) aid in researching and developing the
best practices in the field of microenterprise and technical assistance programs for
disadvantaged entrepreneurs; and (4) for such other activities as the Administrator
determines are consistent with the purposes of this subtitle.104
The SBA’s PRIME program was designed to meet these legislative requirements by providing
assistance to organizations that “help low-income entrepreneurs who lack sufficient training and
education to gain access to capital to establish and expand their small businesses.”105 The
program offers four types of grants:
Technical Assistance Grants support training and technical assistance to
disadvantaged microentrepreneurs,
Capacity Building Grants support training and capacity building services to
microenterprise development organizations and programs to assist them in
developing microenterprise training and services,
Research and Development Grants support the development and sharing of best
practices in the field of microenterprise development and technical assistance
programs for disadvantaged microentrepreneurs, and
Discretionary Grants support other activities determined to be consistent with
these purposes.106
Grants are awarded on an annual basis. Applicants may be approved for option year funding for
up to four subsequent years. Award amounts vary depending on the availability of funds.
However, no single grantee may receive more than $250,000 or 10% of the total funds made
available for the program in a single fiscal year, whichever is less. The minimum grant award for
technical assistance and capacity building grants is $50,000. There is no minimum grant award
amount for research and development or discretionary grants.107 The SBA typically awards at
least 75% of the grant funds for technical assistance, at least 15% for capacity building, and the
remainder for research and development or discretionary activities.108
Recipients must match 50% of the funding from nonfederal sources. Revenue from fees, grants,
and gifts; income from loan sources; and in-kind resources from nonfederal public or private

102 P.L. 106-102, §173. Establishment of Program and §175. Qualified Organizations.
103 P.L. 106-102, §176. Allocation of Assistance; Subgrants.
104 P.L. 106-102, §174. Uses of Assistance.
105 SBA, “What is PRIME?” at https://www.sba.gov/offices/headquarters/oca/resources/11416 (hereinafter SBA,
“What is PRIME?”).
106 SBA, “What is PRIME?”
107 SBA, “What is PRIME?”
108 SBA, “What is PRIME?” For Technical Assistance and Capacity Building Grants, after the initial grant, funding for
additional year(s) must be no more than 67% of the initial grant amount. For Research and Development and
Discretionary Grants, after the initial grant, funding for additional year(s) will be approved at the SBA’s discretion.
Congressional Research Service

22

link to page 27 link to page 27 link to page 8 Small Business Management and Technical Assistance Training Programs

sources may be used to comply with the matching requirement.109 SBA regulations indicate that
“applicants or grantees with severe constraints on available sources of matching funds may
request that the Administrator or designee reduce or eliminate the matching requirements.”110 Any
reductions or eliminations must not exceed 10% of the aggregate of all PRIME grant funds made
available by SBA in any fiscal year.111
Table 4 provides the number and amount of PRIME awards from FY2014 to FY2020.
Table 4. PRIME Grant Awards, FY2014-FY2020
($ in millions)
FY
# of Grants
$ Awarded
Range of Awards
2020
30
$5.4
$75,000 to
$250,000
2019
30
$5.0
$75,000 to
$250,000
2018
32
$5.0
$75,000 to
$250,000
2017
34
$5.0
$55,103 to
$250,000
2016
37
$5.0
$75,000 to
$230,913
2015
39
$5.0
$35,455 to
$200,000
2014
24
$3.5
$94,000 to
$250,000
Source: U.S. Small Business Administration, “PRIME Grantees,” available by year and state, at
https://www.sba.gov/document/support—prime-grantees.
Congress has recommended that the PRIME program receive $5 million in each of FY2015-
FY2019, and $5.5 million in FY2020 and FY2021 (see Table 1). The Biden Administration has
requested $12.5 million for PRIME in FY2022.112
As mentioned, the Obama Administration recommended in its FY2012-FY2017 budget requests
that funding for the PRIME program be eliminated. It argued that the PRIME program overlaps

109 SBA, “Program for Investment in Microentrepreneurs Act (“PRIME”): Microenterprise and Technical Assistance
Programs to Disadvantaged Entrepreneurs, Fiscal Year 2010,” June 2010, pp. 2, 8, at https://www.sba.gov/sites/default/
files/files/serv_fa_2010_primetrack123.pdf.
110 13 C.F.R. §119.8.
111 13 C.F.R. §119.8.
112 SBA, FY2022 Congressional Budget Justification and FY2020 Annual Performance Report, p. 13.
Congressional Research Service

23

link to page 29 Small Business Management and Technical Assistance Training Programs

and duplicates the SBA’s Microloan Technical Assistance Program.113 The Trump Administration
requested that the program receive no funding in its FY2018-FY2021 budget requests.114
7(j) Management and Technical Assistance Program
Using what it viewed as broad statutory powers granted under Section 8(a) of the Small Business
Act of 1958, as amended, the SBA issued regulations in 1970 creating the 8(a) contracting
program to “assist small concerns owned by disadvantaged persons to become self-sufficient,
viable businesses capable of competing effectively in the market place.”115 Using its statutory
authority under Section 7(j) of the Small Business Act to provide management and technical
assistance through contracts, grants, and cooperative agreement to qualified service providers, the
regulations specified that “the SBA may provide technical and management assistance to assist in
the performance of the subcontracts.”116
On October 24, 1978, P.L. 95-507, to amend the Small Business Act and the Small Business
Investment Act of 1958, provided the SBA explicit statutory authority to extend financial,
management, technical, and other services to socially and economically disadvantaged small
businesses. The SBA’s current regulations indicate that the 7(j) Management and Technical
Assistance Program, named after the section of the Small Business Act of 1958, as amended,
authorizing the SBA to provide management and technical assistance training, will, “through its
private sector service providers” deliver “a wide variety of management and technical assistance
to eligible individuals or concerns to meet their specific needs, including: (a) counseling and
training in the areas of financing, management, accounting, bookkeeping, marketing, and
operation of small business concerns; and (b) the identification and development of new business
opportunities.”117 Eligible individuals and businesses include “8(a) certified firms, small
disadvantaged businesses, businesses operating in areas of high unemployment, or low income or
firms owned by low income individuals.”118
As shown on Table 5, the 7(j) program assisted 9,941 small business owners in FY2020.

113 SBA, FY2012 Congressional Budget Justification and FY2010 Annual Performance Report, p. 4, at
https://www.sba.gov/sites/default/files/aboutsbaarticle/
FINAL%20FY%202012%20CBJ%20FY%202010%20APR_0.pdf; SBA, FY2013 Congressional Budget Justification
and FY2011 Annual Performance Report
, pp. 8, 15, at https://www.sba.gov/sites/default/files/files/1-
508%20Compliant%20FY%202013%20CBJ%20FY%202011%20APR(1).pdf; SBA, FY2014 Congressional Budget
Justification and FY2012 Annual Performance Report
, p. 22, 27, at https://www.sba.gov/sites/default/files/files/1-508-
Compliant-FY-2014-CBJ%20FY%202012%20APR.pdf; SBA, FY2017 Congressional Budget Justification and
FY2015 Annual Performance Report
, p. 19; and SBA, FY2021 Congressional Budget Justification and FY2019 Annual
Performance Report
, p. 11.
114 SBA, FY2018 Congressional Budget Justification and FY2016 Annual Performance Report, p. 12; SBA, FY2019
Congressional Budget Justification and FY2017 Annual Performance Report
, p. 13; and SBA, FY2020 Congressional
Budget Justification and FY2018 Annual Performance Report
, p. 11.
115 13 C.F.R. §124.8-1(b) (1970); and Notes, “Minority Enterprise, Federal Contracting, and the SBA’s 8(a) Program:
A New Approach to an Old Problem,” Michigan Law Review, vol. 71, no. 2 (December 1972), pp. 377, 378. For further
analysis of the Minority Small Business and Capital Ownership Development Program, also known as the 8(a)
program, see CRS Report R44844, SBA’s “8(a) Program”: Overview, History, and Current Issues, by Robert Jay
Dilger.
116 13 C.F.R. §124.8-1(d) (1970).
117 13 C.F.R. §124.702.
118 SBA, FY2012 Congressional Budget Justification and FY2010 Annual Performance Report, p. 75, at
https://www.sba.gov/sites/default/files/aboutsbaarticle/
FINAL%20FY%202012%20CBJ%20FY%202010%20APR_0.pdf.
Congressional Research Service

24

link to page 8 Small Business Management and Technical Assistance Training Programs

Table 5. 7(j) Assistance, FY2014-FY2020
# of Clients
Trained or
FY
Counseled
2020
9,941
2019
8,032
2018
6,483
2017
4,100
2016
5,245
2015
5,360
2014
4,104
Source: U.S. Small Business Administration, FY2021 Congressional Budget Justification and FY2019 Annual
Performance Report
, p. 77, at https://www.sba.gov/document/report-congressional-budget-justification-annual-
performance-report; and U.S. Small Business Administration, FY2022 Congressional Budget Justification and FY2020
Annual Performance Report
, p. 73, at https://www.sba.gov/document/report-congressional-budget-justification-
annual-performance-report.
Congress has recommended that the 7(j) program receive $2.8 million in each fiscal year since
FY2019 (see Table 1). The Biden Administration has requested $9.8 million for the 7(j) program
in FY2022.119
Native American Outreach Program
The SBA established the Office of Native American Affairs in 1992 to “address the unique needs
of America’s First people.”120 It oversees the Native American Outreach Program, which provides
management and technical educational assistance to American Indians, Alaska Natives, Native
Hawaiians, and “the indigenous people of Guam and American Samoa … to promote entity-
owned and individual 8(a) certification, government contracting, entrepreneurial education, and
capital access.”121 The program’s training services are available to members of these groups
living in most areas of the nation.122 However, “for Native Americans living in much of Indian
Country, actual reservations communities where the land is held in trust by the U.S. federal
government, SBA loan guaranties and technical assistance services are not available.”123

119 SBA, FY2022 Congressional Budget Justification and FY2020 Annual Performance Report, p. 13.
120 U.S. Congress, Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, SBA Reauthorization: Non-Credit
Programs
, 108th Cong., 1st sess., April 9, 2003, S.Hrg. 108-447 (Washington: GPO, 2003), p. 25; and U.S. Congress,
House Committee on Small Business, Subcommittee on Workforce, Empowerment, and Government Programs,
Oversight of the Small Business Administration’s Entrepreneurial Development Programs, 109th Cong., 2nd sess.,
March 2, 2006, Serial No. 109-40 (Washington: GPO, 2006), pp. 5, 37. H.R. 2352, the Job Creation Through
Entrepreneurship Act of 2009, would have provided statutory authorization for the Office of Native American Affairs.
It was passed by the House on May 20, 2009.
121 SBA, FY2011 Congressional Budget Justification and FY2009 Annual Performance Report, p. 65, at
https://www.sba.gov/sites/default/files/aboutsbaarticle/Congressional_Budget_Justification.pdf (hereinafter SBA,
FY2011 Congressional Budget Justification and FY2009 Annual Performance Report).
122 SBA, FY2011 Congressional Budget Justification and FY2009 Annual Performance Report, p. 65.
123 SBA, FY2011 Congressional Budget Justification and FY2009 Annual Performance Report, p. 65.
Congressional Research Service

25

link to page 30 link to page 8 link to page 20 link to page 20 Small Business Management and Technical Assistance Training Programs

In FY2020, the SBA’s Office of Native American Affairs assisted 2,700 small businesses (see
Table 6). It provided workshops on business development and financial literacy, training
webinars, and online classes for Native American entrepreneurs.124
Table 6. Native American Assistance, FY2014-FY2020
# of Clients
Trained or
FY
Counseled
2020
2,700
2019
2,125
2018
1,549
2017
3,192
2016
1,817
2015
2,209
2014
2,107
Source: U.S. Small Business Administration, FY2021 Congressional Budget Justification and FY2019 Annual
Performance Report
, p. 99, at https://www.sba.gov/document/report-congressional-budget-justification-annual-
performance-report; and U.S. Small Business Administration, FY2022 Congressional Budget Justification and FY2020
Annual Performance Report
, p. 95, at https://www.sba.gov/document/report-congressional-budget-justification-
annual-performance-report.
Congress has recommended that the Native American Outreach Program receive $2 million in
each fiscal year since FY2019 (see Table 1). The Biden Administration has requested $3 million
for the Native American Outreach Program in FY2022.125
SBA Initiatives
In addition to the Boots to Business initiative discussed under “Veterans Business Development
Programs,”
Congress has recommended appropriations for the following three Obama
Administration training initiatives: Entrepreneurial Development (Regional Innovation Clusters),
Entrepreneurial Education, and Growth Accelerators.
Entrepreneurial Development Initiative (Regional Innovation Clusters)
The SBA has supported regional innovation clusters since FY2009, when it partnered with small
business suppliers working in the field of robotics in Michigan. In FY2010, the SBA was
involved in the rollouts of two additional clusters: another robotics cluster in southeast Virginia
and a cluster involving a partnership with the Department of Energy and several other federal
agencies with the goal of developing a regional cluster in energy efficiency homes and
businesses.126 In FY2011, SBA awarded funds to 10 regional innovation clusters. In FY2012,
these clusters “spurred $48 million in private capital raised through venture and angel capital
sources, $6.5 million in early stage investment from SBIR [Small Business Innovation Research

124 SBA, FY2022 Congressional Budget Justification and FY2020 Annual Performance Report, p. 95.
125 SBA, FY2022 Congressional Budget Justification and FY2020 Annual Performance Report, p. 13.
126 SBA, FY2011 Congressional Budget Justification and FY2009 Annual Performance Report, p. 59, at
https://www.sba.gov/sites/default/files/aboutsbaarticle/Congressional_Budget_Justification.pdf.
Congressional Research Service

26

link to page 8 Small Business Management and Technical Assistance Training Programs

program] and STTR [Small Business Technology Transfer program] awards, and over $217
million in contracts or subcontracts from the federal government.”127
President Obama requested, and Congress recommended, an appropriation of $5 million for the
SBA’s Entrepreneurial Development initiative (Regional Innovation Clusters) in FY2014.
Congress recommended that the program receive $6 million in FY2015, $6 million in FY2016, $5
million in FY2017 through FY2020, and $6 million in FY2021 (see Table 1). The Biden
Administration has requested $10 million for the initiative in FY2022.128
In 2013, the SBA reported that there were 56 federally supported regional innovation clusters; it
was involved in 40 of these clusters and directly funded 10 of them.129 In 2019, the SBA
announced that it was funding seven new clusters, increasing the number of clusters currently
supported by the SBA to 14.130 In FY2020, 1,220 small businesses participated in a regional
innovation cluster supported by the Entrepreneurial Development initiative.131
The SBA describes regional innovation clusters as “on-the-ground collaborations between
business, research, education, financing and government institutions that work to develop and
grow a particular industry or related set of industries in a particular geographic region.”132 The
SBA reported that the seven new clusters funded in FY2019 “are particularly well suited to focus
on rural small business creation that will bring much-needed education, training and expertise to
support small business growth in rural locations across our country.”133
Entrepreneurial Education (Emerging Leaders)
The SBA started its Entrepreneurship Education initiative in 2008. At that time, it was called the
Emerging 200 Underserved initiative (E200), reflecting the initiative’s provision of assistance to

127 SBA, FY2014 Congressional Budget Justification and FY2012 Annual Performance Report, p. 60, at
https://www.sba.gov/sites/default/files/1-FY%202016%20CBJ%20FY%202014%20APR.PDF. The Small Business
Innovation Research (SBIR) program is a competitive program that encourages domestic small businesses to engage in
federal research and development that has the potential for commercialization. For additional information and analysis
concerning the SBIR program, see CRS Report R43695, Small Business Research Programs: SBIR and STTR, by
Marcy E. Gallo. The Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) program is a competitive program that reserves a
specific percentage of federal research and development funding for awards to small business and nonprofit research
institutions.
128 SBA, FY2022 Congressional Budget Justification and FY2020 Annual Performance Report, p. 13.
129 The SBA is the lead agency supporting 10 SBA Pilot Contract-Based clusters; partners with the Economic
Development Agency, Employment and Training Agency, National Institute of Standards and Technology, and
Department of Energy to support 10 Jobs Accelerator Advanced Manufacturing clusters; and partners with the
Economic Development Agency and Employment and Training Agency to support 20 Jobs Accelerator Collaboration
Clusters. See SBA, “SBA Supports 56 Federally Funded Cluster Initiatives,” at https://www.sba.gov/sba-clusters; and
SBA, “56 Federally Supported Cluster Initiatives,” at https://www.google.com/url?q=https://www.sba.gov/sites/
default/files/SBA%2520Supports%252056%2520Federally%2520Funded%2520Cluster%2520Initiatives_1.pdf&sa=
U&ved=0CBMQFjAHahUKEwjinvOB9rXIAhULPD4KHZ_ODFA&client=internal-uds-cse&usg=
AFQjCNEcVUjShZkcIYqlUrIn7ma3IZBRQg.
130 SBA, “SBA Announces New Regional Innovation Cluster Awards to Advance Small Business Growth,” April 15,
2019, at https://www.sba.gov/about-sba/sba-newsroom/press-releases-media-advisories/sba-announces-new-regional-
innovation-cluster-awards-advance-small-business-growth.
131 SBA, FY2022 Congressional Budget Justification and FY2020 Annual Performance Report, p. 89.
132 SBA, FY2016 Congressional Budget Justification and FY2014 Annual Performance Report, p. 63, at
https://www.sba.gov/sites/default/files/1-FY%202016%20CBJ%20FY%202014%20APR.PDF.
133 SBA, “SBA Announces New Regional Innovation Cluster Awards to Advance Small Business Growth,” April 15,
2019, at https://www.sba.gov/about-sba/sba-newsroom/press-releases-media-advisories/sba-announces-new-regional-
innovation-cluster-awards-advance-small-business-growth.
Congressional Research Service

27

Small Business Management and Technical Assistance Training Programs

200 inner city small businesses. In FY2009, it was renamed the Emerging Leaders initiative to
reflect the SBA’s decision to increase the number of small businesses participating in the
initiative. It was renamed the Entrepreneurial Education initiative in FY2013, and it is funded
under that name in appropriation acts, but the SBA, and others, often still call it the Emerging
Leaders initiative. The initiative currently
offers high‐growth small businesses in underserved communities a seven‐month executive
leader education series that elevates their growth trajectory, creates jobs, and contributes
to the economic well‐being of their local communities. Participants receive more than 100
hours of specialized training, technical resources, a professional networking system, and
other resources to strengthen their business model and promote economic development
within urban communities. At the conclusion of the training, participants produce a three‐
year strategic growth action plan with benchmarks and performance targets that help them
access the necessary support and resources to move forward for the next stage of business
growth.134
The Entrepreneurial Education initiative was initially offered in 10 communities (Albuquerque,
Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Des Moines, Memphis, Milwaukee, New Orleans, and
Philadelphia) and provided training to 200 inner city small businesses. The program was funded
through the SBA’s Office of Entrepreneurship Education.135 Since the initiative’s inception, the
SBA has requested separate appropriations to fund and expand the initiative. In FY2012, the
initiative offered training in 27 communities, with more than 450 small businesses
participating.136
The Obama Administration requested $40 million in its FY2014 budget request to sponsor
entrepreneur training in 40 locations and to create an online entrepreneurship training program.137
Congress included the Entrepreneurship Education initiative in its list of SBA entrepreneurial
development/noncredit programs to be funded in FY2014. This was the first time that the
initiative was included in the list. In the explanatory statement accompanying the Consolidated
Appropriations Act, 2014, Congress recommended that the initiative receive $5 million in
FY2014.138 Congress recommended that the program receive $7 million in FY2015, $10 million
in FY2016 and FY2017, $6 million in FY2018, $3.5 million in FY2019, and $2.5 million in
FY2020 and FY2021. The Biden Administration has requested $4.5 million for the
Entrepreneurship Education initiative in FY2022.139
The Entrepreneurship Education initiative training series was offered in 60 cities in FY2019,
serving more than 800 small business owners.140 Owners are required to have been in business for

134 SBA, FY2014 Congressional Budget Justification and FY2012 Annual Performance Report, p.71, at
https://www.sba.gov/sites/default/files/1-FY%202016%20CBJ%20FY%202014%20APR.PDF.
135 SBA, FY2010 Congressional Budget Justification, p.67, at https://www.sba.gov/sites/default/files/aboutsbaarticle/
Congressional_Budget_Justification_2010.pdf.
136 SBA, FY2014 Congressional Budget Justification and FY2012 Annual Performance Report, p. 71, at
https://www.sba.gov/sites/default/files/1-FY%202016%20CBJ%20FY%202014%20APR.PDF (hereinafter SBA,
FY2014 Congressional Budget Justification and FY2012 Annual Performance Report).
137 SBA, FY2014 Congressional Budget Justification and FY2012 Annual Performance Report, p. 10.
138 Recommended funding levels for the SBA’s noncredit programs in FY2014 are provided in the “Explanatory
Statement” accompanying the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2014 (Division E - Financial Services and General
Government Appropriations Act, 2014), pp. 37-39, at http://docs.house.gov/billsthisweek/20140113/113-HR3547-
JSOM-D-F.pdf.
139 SBA, FY2022 Congressional Budget Justification and FY2020 Annual Performance Report, p. 13.
140 SBA, FY2021 Congressional Budget Justification and FY2019 Annual Performance Report, pp. 91, 92.
Congressional Research Service

28

Small Business Management and Technical Assistance Training Programs

at least three years, have annual revenue of at least $250,000, and have at least one employee,
other than the owner, to participate in the initiative. There is no cost to the participants.141
Due to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, the Entrepreneurship Education
initiative was placed on hold during FY2020 and is anticipated to restart in FY2021.142
Growth Accelerators
The SBA describes growth accelerators as “organizations that help entrepreneurs start and scale
their businesses.”143 Growth accelerators are typically run by experienced entrepreneurs and help
small businesses access seed capital and mentors. The SBA claims that growth accelerators “help
accelerate a startup company’s path towards success with targeted advice on revenue growth, job,
and sourcing outside funding.”144
In FY2012, the SBA sponsored several meetings with university officials and faculty,
entrepreneurs, and representatives of growth accelerators to discuss mentoring and how to best
assist “high-growth” entrepreneurs. These meetings “culminated with a White House event co‐
hosted by the SBA and the Department of Commerce to help formalize the network of
universities and accelerators, provide a series of ‘train the trainers’ events on various government
programs that benefit high‐growth entrepreneurs, and provide a playbook of best practices on
engaging universities on innovation and entrepreneurship.”145
In FY2014, the Obama Administration requested $5 million, and Congress recommended an
appropriation of $2.5 million, for the Growth Accelerators initiative. The Obama Administration
proposed to use the funding to provide matching grants to universities and private-sector
accelerators “to start a new accelerator program (based on successful models) or scale an existing
program.”146 The Obama Administration also indicated that it planned to request funding for five
years ($25 million in total funding) and feature a required 4:1 private-sector match.147 However,
because it received half of its budget request ($2.5 million), the SBA decided to reconsider the
program’s requirements. As part of that reconsideration, the SBA decided to drop the 4:1 private-
sector match in an effort to enable the program to have a larger effect.148
The SBA announced the availability of 50 growth accelerator grants of $50,000 each on May 12,
2014, and received more than 800 applications by the August 2, 2014, deadline. The 50 awards
were announced in September 2014.149

141 SBA, “SBA Emerging Leaders Initiative,” at https://www.sba.gov/about-sba/organization/sba-initiatives#section-
header-18.
142 SBA, FY2022 Congressional Budget Justification and FY2020 Annual Performance Report, p. 88.
143 SBA, FY2018 Congressional Budget Justification and FY2016 Annual Performance Report, p. 75.
144 SBA, FY2018 Congressional Budget Justification and FY2016 Annual Performance Report, p. 75.
145 SBA, FY2014 Congressional Budget Justification and FY2012 Annual Performance Report, p. 60.
146 SBA, FY2014 Congressional Budget Justification and FY2012 Annual Performance Report, p. 60.
147 SBA, FY2014 Congressional Budget Justification and FY2012 Annual Performance Report, p. 60.
148 SBA, Office of Congressional and Legislative Affairs, “Correspondence with the author,” May 6, 2014.
149 SBA, “SBA Launches Accelerator Competition to Award $2.5 million for Small Business Startups,” May 12, 2014,
at https://www.sba.gov/content/sba-launches-accelerator-competition-award-25-million-small-business-startups-0;
SBA, “More than 800 Small Business Startups Compete for 50 Cash Prizes in SBA’s Growth Accelerator
Competition,” August 4, 2014, at https://www.sba.gov/content/more-800-small-business-startups-compete-50-cash-
prizes-sbas-growth-accelerator-competition; and SBA, “SBA Spurs Economic Growth, Announces 50 Awards to
Accelerators,” September 4, 2014, at https://www.sba.gov/content/sba-spurs-economic-growth-announces-50-awards-
accelerators.
Congressional Research Service

29

Small Business Management and Technical Assistance Training Programs

Congress recommended that the program receive $4 million in FY2015; $1 million in FY2016,
FY2017, and FY2018; and $2 million in FY2019, FY2020, and FY2021. Congress also directed
the SBA in its explanatory statements accompanying P.L. 113-235 and P.L. 114-113 to “require $4
of matching funds for every $1 awarded under the growth accelerators program.”150 The Biden
Administration has requested $10 million for the growth accelerators initiative in FY2022.151
The SBA has awarded 303 $50,000 growth accelerator awards to 222 unique small businesses to
date: 50 in 2014, 88 in 2015, 85 in 2016, 20 in 2017, and 60 in 2019, for a total of $15.15
million.152
In May 2021, the SBA announced its 6th growth accelerator fund competition with applications
due by July 2, 2021.153 The SBA anticipates making 84 $50,000 awards to applicants “who focus
their proposed efforts on assisting the following groups: women entrepreneurs, minority
entrepreneurs, entrepreneurs building technologies to address key policy issues such as clean
energy and supply chain resilience, or an underserved target group identified by the applicant
(i.e., rural, veterans, individuals with disabilities, etc.).”154
The SBA did not issue a competitive announcement for growth accelerator awards in FY2018 and
FY2020.
During the 116th Congress, H.R. 4387, To establish Growth Accelerator Fund Competition within
the Small Business Administration, and for other purposes, would have provided the growth
accelerators initiative statutory authorization. Similar legislation was introduced during the 115th
Congress (H.R. 2686).

150 Rep. Harold Rogers, “Explanatory Statement Submitted by Mr. Rogers of Kentucky, Chairman of the House
Committee on Appropriations Regarding the House Amendment to the Senate Amendment on H.R. 83,” Congressional
Record
, vol. 160, part 151 (December 11, 2014), p. H9741; and Rep. Harold Rogers, “Explanatory Statement
Submitted By Mr. Rogers of Kentucky, Chairman of the House Committee on Appropriations Regarding House
Amendment No. 1 to the Senate Amendment on H.R. 2029 Consolidated Appropriations Act,” Congressional Record,
vol. 161, no. 184-Book II (December 17, 2015), p. H10140.
151 SBA, FY2022 Congressional Budget Justification and FY2020 Annual Performance Report, p. 13.
152 SBA, “SBA Boosts Economic Impact of Accelerators with $4.4 Million in Prizes,” August 4, 2015, at
https://www.sba.gov/content/sba-boosts-economic-impact-accelerators-44-million-prizes-0; SBA, “SBA Announces
$3.4 Million for Small Business Startups,” August 31, 2016, at https://www.sba.gov/content/sba-announces-34-million-
small-business-startups; SBA, “SBA Announces 20 Growth Accelerator Fund Competition Recipients,” October 30,
2017, at https://www.sba.gov/node/1594788; SBA, “SBA Announces $3 Million for 60 Growth Accelerator Fund
Competition Recipients Supporting Startups and STEM Focused Entrepreneurs,” September 26, 2019, at
https://www.sba.gov/about-sba/sba-newsroom/press-releases-media-advisories/sba-announces-3-million-60-growth-
accelerator-fund-competition-recipients-supporting-startups-and; SBA, “SBA Announces $3 Million for 60 Growth
Accelerator Fund Competition Recipients Supporting Startups and STEM Focused Entrepreneurs,” February 6, 2020, at
https://www.sba.gov/article/2020/feb/06/sba-announces-3-million-60-growth-accelerator-fund-competition-recipients-
supporting-startups-stem; and SBA, Office of Congressional and Legislative Affairs, “Correspondence with the
author,” June 25, 2021.
153 SBA, “SBIR STTR, SBA Funding Programs for SBIR Support Organizations: Growth Accelerator Fund
Competition (GAFC), May 20, 2021,” at https://www.sbir.gov/support-organizations; and SBA, Dallas/Fort Worth
District Office, “Growth Accelerator Fund Competition and SBIR Catalyst,” May 26, 2021, at
https://content.govdelivery.com/accounts/USSBA/bulletins/2df6d32.
154 SBA, “SBA Launches 6th Annual Growth Accelerator Fund Competition, Debuts SBIR Catalyst to Award over $5
Million in Prizes,” June 2, 2021, at https://www.sba.gov/article/2021/jun/02/sba-launches-6th-annual-growth-
accelerator-fund-competition-debuts-sbir-catalyst-award-over-5.
Congressional Research Service

30

Small Business Management and Technical Assistance Training Programs

Department of Commerce Small Business
Management and Technical Assistance
Training Programs
As mentioned, the Department of Commerce’s Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA)
provides training to minority business owners to assist them in obtaining contracts and financial
awards.155 In addition, the Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration’s
Local Technical Assistance Program promotes efforts to build and expand local organizational
capacity in distressed areas. As part of that effort, it funds projects that focus on technical or
market feasibility studies of economic development projects or programs, which often include
consultation with small businesses.156
The Minority Business Development Agency
The MBDA was established by President Richard M. Nixon by Executive Order 11625, issued on
October 13, 1971, and published in the Federal Register the next day. It clarified the authority of
the Secretary of Commerce to
 implement federal policy in support of the minority business enterprise program,
 provide additional technical and management assistance to disadvantaged
businesses,
 assist in demonstration projects, and
 coordinate the participation of all federal departments and agencies in an
increased minority enterprise effort.157
The MBDA received an appropriation of $40 million in FY2019, $52 million in FY2020 ($42
million in regular appropriations and $10 million in supplemental appropriations), and $73
million in FY2021 ($48 million in regular appropriations and $25 million in supplemental
appropriations).158 The Biden Administration has requested that the MBDA receive $70.023
million in FY2022.159
As part of its mission, the MBDA seeks to train minority business owners to become first- or
second-tier suppliers to private corporations and the federal government. Progress is measured in
the business’s increased gross receipts, number of employees, and size and scale of the firms
associated with minority business enterprises.

155 U.S. Department of Commerce, MBDA, “Annual Performance Report, Fiscal Year 2011; America: Built to Last,” p.
76, at https://www.mbda.gov/sites/default/files/apr2011.pdf.
156 13 C.F.R. §306.
157 The Executive Office of the President, “Executive Order 11625,” 36 Federal Register 11625, October 14, 1971; and
3 C.F.R., 1971-1975 Comp. 9. 616. The MBDA superseded the Office of Minority Business Enterprise, which was
established by Executive Order 11458 signed by President Richard Nixon on March 5, 1969.
158 P.L. 114-113, P.L. 115-31; P.L. 115-56, P.L. 115-141; P.L. 116-6, P.L. 116-93, P.L. 116-136; and P.L. 116-260.
159 U.S. Office of Management and Budget (OMB), “Appendix: Budget of the U.S. Government, Fiscal Year 2022,” p.
205, at https://www.whitehouse.gov/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/appendix_fy22.pdf.
Congressional Research Service

31

Small Business Management and Technical Assistance Training Programs

The MBDA reported that in FY2020 it helped to create 11,597 jobs, retain 15,720 jobs, and
assisted minority-owned and operated businesses in obtaining more than $6.9 billion in contracts
and capital awards.160
The EDA Local Technical Assistance Program
P.L. 89-186, the Public Works and Economic Development Act of 1965, authorized the
Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) to provide financial
assistance to economically distressed areas in the United States that are characterized by high
levels of unemployment and low per-capita income. The EDA currently administers seven
Economic Development Assistance Programs (EDAPs) that award matching grants for public
works, economic adjustment, planning, technical assistance, research and evaluation, trade
adjustment assistance, and global climate change mitigation.161
Grants awarded under the EDA’s Local Technical Assistance Program are designed to help solve
specific economic development problems, respond to development opportunities, and build and
expand local organizational capacity in distressed areas.162 The majority of local technical
assistance projects focus on technical or market feasibility studies of economic development
projects or programs, including consultation with small businesses. The EDA’s Local Technical
Assistance Program received an appropriation of $9.5 million in FY2018, FY2019, and FY2020,
and $10 million in FY2021.163 The Biden Administration has requested $14 million for the EDA’s
Local Technical Assistance Program in FY2022.164

160 U.S. Department of Commerce, MBDA, “Annual Performance Summary, Fiscal Year 2020,” p. 1, at
https://www.mbda.gov/performance. For additional information and analysis concerning the MBDA, see CRS Report
R45015, Minority Business Development Agency: An Overview of Its History and Current Issues, by Julie M. Lawhorn.
161 In addition, since 1970, Congress has periodically allocated supplemental funds for the Economic Development
Administration (EDA) to assist with disaster mitigation and economic recovery. Also, EDA grant applicants must be
designated by EDA as part of an EDD—a multijurisdictional consortium of county and local governments—to be
eligible for EDA funding and grants. To be designated as an EDD, an area must meet the definition of economic
distress, under 13 C.F.R. 303.3: “(i) An unemployment rate that is, for the most recent twenty-four (24) month period
for which data are available, at least one (1) percentage point greater than the national average unemployment rate; (ii)
Per capita income that is, for the most recent period for which data are available, eighty (80) percent or less of the
national average per capita income; or (iii) A Special Need, as determined by Economic Development Administration
(EDA).”
162 13 C.F.R. §306.
163 “Explanatory Statement Submitted by Mr. Frelinghuysen, Chairman of the House Committee on Appropriations
Regarding the House Amendment to the Senate Amendments on H.R. 1625 [the Consolidated Appropriations Act,
2018] (Division B – Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2018),” p. 2; H.Rept. 116-
9, conference report to accompany the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2019; “Explanatory Statement Submitted by
Mrs. Lowey, Chairwoman of the House Committee on Appropriations Regarding the Consolidated Appropriations Act,
2020 (Division B – Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2020),” p. 4; and Rep. Nita
Lowey, “Explanatory Statement Submitted by Mrs. Lowey, Chairwoman of the House Committee on Appropriations
Regarding H.R. 133, Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 (Division B – Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related
Agencies Appropriations Act, 2021),” Congressional Record, vol. 166, no. 218-Book III (December 21, 2020), p.
H7922.
164 OMB, “Appendix: Budget of the U.S. Government, Fiscal Year 2022,” p. 197, at https://www.whitehouse.gov/wp-
content/uploads/2021/05/appendix_fy22.pdf.
Congressional Research Service

32

Small Business Management and Technical Assistance Training Programs

Congressional Issues
For many years, a recurring theme at congressional hearings concerning the SBA’s training
programs was the perceived need to improve program efficiency by eliminating duplication of
services or increasing cooperation and coordination both within and among SCORE, WBCs, and
SBDCs.165 For example, in 2013 the House Committee on Small Business’s majority argued in its
“views and estimates letter” to the House Budget Committee that the SBA’s various training
programs should be “folded into the mission of the SBDC program or their responsibilities should
be taken over by other agencies” because they “overlap each other and duplicate the educational
services provided by other agencies.”166
In addition, as mentioned, the Obama Administration recommended that the PRIME program be
eliminated, arguing that it overlaps and duplicates the SBA’s Microloan Technical Assistance
Program. The Trump Administration has also recommended that the PRIME program, the Growth
Accelerators initiative, and the Entrepreneurial Development initiative (Regional Innovation
Clusters) be eliminated because they overlap private-sector “mechanisms to foster local business
development and investment” or are “duplicative of other federal programs.”167
In contrast, Congress has approved continued funding for these programs and the Boots to
Business and Boots to Business: Reboot initiatives. In recent years, Congress has also explored
ways to improve the SBA’s measurement of its training programs’ effectiveness.
Program Administration
In 2007, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) was asked to assess the SBA’s
oversight of WBCs and the coordination and duplication of services among the SBA’s
management and technical training assistance programs. GAO found that
As described in the terms of the SBA award, WBCs are required to coordinate with local
SBDCs and SCORE chapters. In addition, SBA officials told us that they expected district

165 U.S. Congress, House Committee on Small Business, Full Committee Markup of H.R. 2352 The Job Creation
Through Entrepreneurship Act of 2009
, 111th Cong., 1st sess., May 13, 2009, Doc. No. 111-022 (Washington: GPO,
2009), pp. 2, 14; U.S. Congress, Senate Committee on Small Business, SBA’s Management and Assistance Programs,
Roundtable before the Committee on Small Business United States Senate, 106th Cong., 1st sess., May 20, 1999, S. Hrg.
106-337 (Washington: GPO, 1999), pp. 69, 74, 82, 92; U.S. Congress, House Committee on Small Business, To
Investigate the Legislation That Would Increase the Extent and Scope of the Services Provided By Small Business
Development Centers
, 107th Cong., 1st sess., July 19, 2001, Serial No. 107-20 (Washington: GPO, 2001), pp. 13, 59, 60;
and U.S. Congress, Senate Committee on Small Business, Oversight on the Small Business Administration’s Small
Business Development Center Program
, 100th Cong., 1st sess., October 15, 1987, S. Hrg. 100-339 (Washington: GPO,
1987), pp. 6, 165, 168, 230.
166 U.S. Congress, House Committee on Small Business, “Views and Estimates of the Committee on Small Business on
Matters to be set forth in the Concurrent Resolution on the Budget for FY2014,” communication to the Chairman,
House Committee on the Budget, 113th Cong., 1st sess., February 27, 2013. Previously, the House Committee on Small
Business had recommended that funding for Women Business Centers, PRIME technical assistance, HUBZone
outreach, and the Offices of Native American Affairs and International Trade be eliminated; and funding for 7(j)
technical assistance, Microloan technical assistance, and the National Women’s Business Council be reduced. See U.S.
Congress, House Committee on Small Business, “Views and Estimates of the Committee on Small Business on Matters
to be set forth in the Concurrent Resolution on the Budget for FY2013,” communication to the Chairman, House
Committee on the Budget, 112th Cong., 2nd sess., March 7, 2012.
167 OMB, “America First: A Budget Blueprint to Make America Great Again: Small Business Administration,” p. 47, at
https://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/whitehouse.gov/files/omb/budget/fy2018/2018_blueprint.pdf; and SBA, FY2018
Congressional Budget Justification and FY2016 Annual Performance Report
, p. 58, at https://www.sba.gov/sites/
default/files/aboutsbaarticle/FINAL_SBA_FY_2018_CBJ_May_22_2017c.pdf.
Congressional Research Service

33

Small Business Management and Technical Assistance Training Programs

offices to ensure that the programs did not duplicate each other. However, based on our
review, WBCs lacked guidance and information from SBA on how to successfully carry
out their coordination efforts. Most of the WBCs that we spoke with explained that in some
situations they referred clients to an SBDC or SCORE counselor, and some WBCs also
took steps to more actively coordinate with local SBDCs and SCORE chapters to avoid
duplication and leverage resources. We learned that WBCs used a variety of approaches to
facilitate coordination, such as memorandums of understanding, information-sharing
meetings, and co-locating staff and services. However, some WBCs told us that they faced
challenges in coordinating services with SBDC and SCORE, in part because the programs
have similar performance measures, and this could result in competition among the service
providers in some locations. We also found that on some occasions SBA encouraged
WBCs to provide services that were similar to services already provided by SBDCs in their
district. Such challenges thwart coordination efforts and could increase the risk of
duplication in some geographic areas.168
Some organizations have argued that the SBA’s training programs should be merged. For
example, the U.S. Women’s Chamber of Commerce argued that
over the last 50 years, the SBA entrepreneurial development system has grown into a
fragmented array of programs, which has resulted in a disorganized, overlapping, and [in]
efficient delivery of service through a system that is ill-prepared to effectively address the
challenges of our economy….
if we are to serve the needs of American entrepreneurs, we must commit to a top to bottom
restructuring of the delivery of the entrepreneurial services of the SBA. The myriad of
entrepreneurial development programs should be unified into one centrally managed
organization that has the flexibility to provide services when and where they are needed.169
These organizations argue that merging the SBA’s training programs would provide greater
coordination of services and “one clear channel for assistance” that “is paramount to the average
business owner seeking help.”170 Advocates of merging the SBA’s training programs often
mention merging them into the SBDC Program because, in their view, it has the advantage of
having a broader connection to mainstream resources and its locations are “greater and more
diverse” than other SBA training programs.171
Others argue that providing separate training programs for specific groups is the best means to
ensure that those groups’ unique challenges are recognized and their unique needs are met.172 For

168 U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO), Small Business Administration: Opportunities Exist to Improve
Oversight of Women’s Business Centers and Coordination among SBA’s Business Assistance Programs
, GAO-08-49,
November 2007, pp. 6, 24-31, at http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d0849.pdf.
169 U.S. Congress, House Committee on Small Business, Full Committee Hearing on the State of the SBA’s
Entrepreneurial Development Programs and Their Role in Promoting an Economic Recovery
, 111th Cong., 1st sess.,
February 11, 2009, Small Business Comm. Doc. No. 111-005 (Washington: GPO, 2009), p. 4.
170 U.S. Congress, House Committee on Small Business, Subcommittee on Rural Development, Entrepreneurship, and
Trade, Subcommittee Hearing on Legislative Initiatives to Modernize SBA’s Entrepreneurial Development Programs,
111th Cong., 1st sess., April 2, 2009 (Washington: GPO, 2009), p. 29.
171 U.S. Congress, House Committee on Small Business, Full Committee Hearing on the State of the SBA’s
Entrepreneurial Development Programs and Their Role in Promoting an Economic Recovery
, 111th Cong., 1st sess.,
February 11, 2009, Small Business Committee Doc. No. 111-005 (Washington: GPO, 2009), p. 26 (hereinafter U.S.
Congress, House Committee on Small Business, Full Committee Hearing on the State of the SBA’s Entrepreneurial
Development Programs and Their Role in Promoting an Economic Recovery
).
172 U.S. Congress, House Committee on Small Business, Full Committee Hearing on the State of the SBA’s
Entrepreneurial Development Programs and Their Role in Promoting an Economic Recovery
, pp. 15, 17, 26, 29, 58-
65, 72; and U.S. Congress, House Committee on Small Business, Women’s Business Ownership Act of 1988, report to
accompany H.R. 5050, 100th Cong., 2nd sess., September 22, 1988, H.Rept. 100-955 (Washington: GPO, 1988), pp. 9,
Congressional Research Service

34

Small Business Management and Technical Assistance Training Programs

example, when asked at a congressional hearing about the rationale for having separate training
programs for specific groups, a representative of the Association of Women’s Business Centers
stated the following:
I think that there is tremendous rationale for having different programs…. The women’s
business center programs really target a very different kind of population than the
SBDCs.… We serve very different clientele…. We create a very different culture at the
women’s business center. We really have made it a welcoming place where … they feel
comfortable.… And it’s very important to me that the woman have a place where they feel
comfortable … and where they see other women like themselves who are aspiring to reach
their dreams.173
At another congressional hearing, the Association of Women’s Business Centers’ executive
director argued that “the new three-year funding arrangement” for WBCs had enabled them to
“concentrate on better serving their clients and growing their programs” and that WBCs should be
provided continued and expanded funding because they provide effective services:
We know that when our program performance is measured against any other enterprise
assistance program, we will meet or exceed any performance measures. Indeed, the SBA’s
own client-based performance reviews have shown our clients to be just as satisfied or in
some cases more satisfied with the services they have received compared to the SBA’s
other entrepreneurial development efforts.174
Instead of merging programs, some argue that improved communication among the SBA’s
training resource partners and enhanced SBA program oversight is needed. For example, during
the 111th Congress, the House passed H.R. 2352, the Job Creation Through Entrepreneurship Act
of 2009, on May 20, 2009, by a vote of 406-15. The Senate did not take action on the bill. In its
committee report accompanying the bill, the House Committee on Small Business concluded that
Each ED [Entrepreneurial Development] program has a unique mandate and service
delivery approach that is customized to its particular clients. However, as a network, the
programs have established local connections and resources that benefit entrepreneurs
within a region. Enhanced coordination among this network is critical to make the most of
scarce resources available for small firms. It can also ensure that best practices are shared
amongst providers that have similar goals but work within different contexts.175
In an effort to enhance the oversight and coordination of the SBA’s training programs, the Job
Creation Through Entrepreneurship Act of 2009 would have required the SBA to
 create a new online, multilingual distance training and education program that
was fully integrated into the SBA’s existing training programs and “allows
entrepreneurs and small business owners the opportunity to exchange technical
assistance through the sharing of information.”176

10, 13, 14.
173 U.S. Congress, House Committee on Small Business, Full Committee Legislative Hearing on Energy, Veterans
Entrepreneurship, and the SBA’s Entrepreneurial Development Programs
, 110th Cong., 1st sess., May 16, 2007, Serial
Number 110-22 (Washington: GPO, 2007), p. 20.
174 U.S. Congress, House Committee on Small Business, Full Committee Hearing on the State of the SBA’s
Entrepreneurial Development Programs and Their Role in Promoting an Economic Recovery
, 111th Cong., 1st sess.,
February 11, 2009, Small Business Committee Doc. No. 111-005 (Washington: GPO, 2009), pp. 45, 47.
175 U.S. Congress, House Committee on Small Business, Job Creation Through Entrepreneurship Act of 2009, report to
accompany H.R. 2352, 111th Cong., 1st sess., May 15, 2009, H.Rept. 111-112 (Washington: GPO, 2009), pp. 17, 18.
176 H.R. 2352, the Job Creation Through Entrepreneurship Act of 2009, §201. Educating Entrepreneurs Through
Technology; and H.R. 2352, §601. Expanding Entrepreneurship.
Congressional Research Service

35

Small Business Management and Technical Assistance Training Programs

 coordinate its training programs “with State and local economic development
agencies and other federal agencies as appropriate.”177
 “report annually to Congress, in consultation with other federal departments and
agencies as appropriate, on opportunities to foster coordination, limit duplication,
and improve program delivery for federal entrepreneurial development
activities.”178
During the 112th Congress, S. 3442, the SUCCESS Act of 2012, and S. 3572, the Restoring Tax
and Regulatory Certainty to Small Businesses Act of 2012, sought to address the coordination
issue by requiring the SBA, in consultation with other federal departments and agencies, to
submit an annual report to Congress “describing opportunities to foster coordination of, limit
duplication among, and improve program delivery for federal entrepreneurial development
programs.”179 The SUCCESS Act of 2012 was referred to the Senate Committee on Small
Business and Entrepreneurship, which held hearings on the bill.180 The Restoring Tax and
Regulatory Certainty to Small Businesses Act of 2012 was referred to the Senate Committee on
Finance.
There has also been some discussion of merging SBA’s training programs with training programs
offered by other federal agencies, both as a means to improve program performance and to
achieve savings. For example, P.L. 111-139, Increasing the Statutory Limit on the Public Debt,
requires GAO to “conduct routine investigations to identify programs, agencies, offices, and
initiatives with duplicative goals and activities within Departments and government-wide and
report annually to Congress on the findings.”181 GAO identified 51 programmatic areas in its
2012 annual report on federal duplication “where programs may be able to achieve greater
efficiencies or become more effective in providing government services.”182 GAO identified
business training assistance provided by the SBA and the Departments of Commerce, Housing
and Urban Development, and Agriculture as one of these areas.183 GAO identified 53 business
training programs sponsored by the SBA and these three departments. GAO reported that “the
number of programs that support entrepreneurs—53—and the overlap among these programs
raise questions about whether a fragmented system is the most effective way to support
entrepreneurs. By exploring alternatives, agencies may be able to determine whether there are
more efficient ways to continue to serve the unique needs of entrepreneurs, including
consolidating various programs.”184

177 H.R. 2352, §601. Expanding Entrepreneurship.
178 H.R. 2352, §601. Expanding Entrepreneurship.
179 S. 3442, the SUCCESS Act of 2012, §411. Expanding Entrepreneurship; and S. 3572, the Restoring Tax and
Regulatory Certainty to Small Businesses Act of 2012, §411. Expanding Entrepreneurship.
180 U.S. Senate, Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, “Creating Jobs and Growing the Economy:
Legislative Proposals to Strengthen the Entrepreneurial Ecosystem,” November 29, 2012, at
http://www.sbc.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?p=Hearings.
181 P.L. 111-139, Increasing the statutory limit on the public debt, §21. Identification, Consolidation, and Elimination of
Duplicative Government Programs.
182 GAO, 2012 Annual Report: Opportunities to Reduce Duplication, Overlap and Fragmentation, Achieve Savings,
and Enhance Results
, GAO-12-342SP, February 28, 2012, p. 1, http://www.gao.gov/assets/590/588818.pdf (hereinafter
GAO, 2012 Annual Report: Opportunities to Reduce Duplication, Overlap and Fragmentation, Achieve Savings, and
Enhance Results
).
183 GAO, 2012 Annual Report: Opportunities to Reduce Duplication, Overlap and Fragmentation, Achieve Savings,
and Enhance Results
, pp. 52-61.
184 GAO, 2012 Annual Report: Opportunities to Reduce Duplication, Overlap and Fragmentation, Achieve Savings,
Congressional Research Service

36

Small Business Management and Technical Assistance Training Programs

As mentioned, the House Committee on Small Business previously argued that “given tight
budgetary constraints” the SBA’s various training programs “should be folded into the mission of
the SBDC program or their responsibilities should be taken over by other agencies.”185 The House
Committee on Small Business also indicated its opposition to the Obama Administration’s
increased use of, and requests for increased funding for, training initiatives. For example,
Representative Sam Graves, then-chair of the House Committee on Small Business, indicated in
his opening remarks at a congressional hearing in April 2014 that
Despite reports that the federal government is riddled with redundant [training] programs
for entrepreneurs, the SBA has increasingly spawned its own entrepreneurial development
initiatives. In doing so, the SBA has repeatedly requested increased funding for its own
initiatives while allowing funding for statutorily authorized programs, such as SBDCs, to
remain static.… I continue to question the necessity of these initiatives given the potential
overlap with both private and public sector efforts already in existence.186
In addition, as mentioned, H.R. 1774 would, among other provisions, require the SBA to only use
authorized entrepreneurial development programs (SCORE, WBCs, SBDCs, etc.) to deliver
specified entrepreneurial development services.
Program Evaluation
GAO noted in its 2007 assessment of the SBA’s training programs that, in addition to its annual
survey of WBC, SBDC, and SCORE participants, the SBA requires WBCs to provide quarterly
performance reports that include “the WBCs’ actual accomplishments, compared with their
performance goals for the reporting period; actual budget expenditures, compared with an
estimated budget; cost of client fees; success stories; and names of WBC personnel and board
members.”187 GAO also noted that WBCs are also required to issue fourth quarter performance
reports that “also include a summary of the year’s activities and economic impact data that the
WBCs collect from their clients, such as number of business start-ups, number of jobs created,
and gross receipts.”188 SBDCs have similar reporting requirements.189
In recent years, Congress has considered requiring the SBA to expand its use of outcome-based
measures to determine the effectiveness of its management and technical training assistance
programs. For example, during the 111th Congress, the previously mentioned Job Creation
Through Entrepreneurship Act of 2009 would have required the SBA to create “outcome-based
measures of the amount of job creation or economic activity generated in the local community as

and Enhance Results, p. 55.
185 U.S. Congress, House Committee on Small Business, “Views and Estimates of the Committee on Small Business on
Matters to be set forth in the Concurrent Resolution on the Budget for FY2014,” communication to the Chairman,
House Committee on the Budget, 113th Cong., 1st sess., February 27, 2013.
186 Rep. Sam Graves, “Opening Statement of Chairman Sam Graves, Committee on Small Business Hearing: ‘SBA-
created Initiatives: Necessary or Redundant Spending,” April 30, 2014, at https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/
CHRG-113hhrg87751/html/CHRG-113hhrg87751.htm.
187 GAO, Small Business Administration: Opportunities Exist to Improve Oversight of Women’s Business Centers and
Coordination among SBA’s Business Assistance Programs
, GAO-08-49, November 2007, p. 15, at
http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d0849.pdf (hereinafter GAO, Small Business Administration: Opportunities Exist to
Improve Oversight of Women’s Business Centers and Coordination among SBA’s Business Assistance Programs
).
188 GAO, Small Business Administration: Opportunities Exist to Improve Oversight of Women’s Business Centers and
Coordination among SBA’s Business Assistance Programs
, p. 15.
189 SBA, “Small Business Development Center Fy/Cy 2011 Program Announcement for Renewal of the Cooperative
Agreement for Current Recipient Organizations,” pp. 27-38, at https://www.sba.gov/sites/default/files/files/
2011%20Program%20Announcement.pdf.
Congressional Research Service

37

Small Business Management and Technical Assistance Training Programs

a result of efforts made and services provided by each women’s business center.”190 It would also
have required the SBA to “develop and implement a consistent data collection process to cover all
entrepreneurial development programs” including “data relating to job creation, performance, and
any other data determined appropriate by the Administrator with respect to the Administration’s
entrepreneurial development programs.”191
During the 112th Congress, the SUCCESS Act of 2012 and Restoring Tax and Regulatory
Certainty to Small Businesses Act of 2012 would have required the SBA to “promulgate a rule to
develop and implement a consistent data collection process for the entrepreneurial development
programs” that included data “relating to job creation and performance and any other data
determined appropriate by the Administrator.”192
During the 114th Congress, H.R. 207 would have required the SBA to issue an annual report
concerning “all entrepreneurial development activities undertaken in the current fiscal year.” This
report would include a description and operating details for each program and activity; operating
circulars, manuals, and standard operating procedures for each program and activity; a description
of the process used to award grants under each program and activity; a list of all awardees,
contractors, and vendors and the amount of awards provided for the current fiscal year for each
program and activity; the amount of funding obligated for the current fiscal year for each program
and activity; and the names and titles for those individuals responsible for each program and
activity. This legislative language was reintroduced during the 115th Congress in H.R. 1774, the
Developing the Next Generation of Small Businesses Act of 2017.
Concluding Observations
Congress has always shown an interest in the SBA’s training programs, primarily because small
businesses are seen as important contributors to job retention and creation.193 As then-
Representative Heath Shuler stated during a congressional hearing in 2009:
We often talk about the role that small business plays in the creation of jobs and with good
reason. Small firms generate between 60 and 80 percent of new positions. Following the
recession in the mid-1990s, they created 3.8 million jobs…. we could use that growth
today. But unfortunately, many firms are struggling to make ends meet. Let’s allow them
to hire new workers. In the face of historic economic challenges, we should be investing in
America’s job creators. SBA’s Entrepreneurial Development Programs, or ED, do just that.
Of all the tools in the small business toolbox, these are some of the most critical. They help
small firms do everything from draft business plans to access capital.194
More recently, congressional interest in the SBA’s training programs has increased due to the
COVID-19 pandemic’s adverse economic impact on the national economy. The general

190 H.R. 2352, §404. Performance and Planning.
191 H.R. 2352, §601. Expanding Entrepreneurship.
192 S. 3442, §411. Expanding Entrepreneurship; and S. 3572, §411. Expanding Entrepreneurship.
193 SBA, Office of Advocacy, Small Business Economic Indicators for 2003, August 2004, p. 3; Brian Headd, “Small
Businesses Most Likely to Lead Economic Recovery,” The Small Business Advocate, vol. 28, no. 6 (July 2009), pp. 1,
2; and SBA, “Fiscal Year 2010 Congressional Budget Justification,” p. 1, at https://www.sba.gov/sites/default/files/
aboutsbaarticle/Congressional_Budget_Justification_2010.pdf.
194 U.S. Congress, House Committee on Small Business, Subcommittee on Rural Development, Entrepreneurship and
Trade, Subcommittee On Rural Development, Entrepreneurship And Trade Markup On Entrepreneurial Development
Programs Legislation
, 111th Cong., 1st sess., April 30, 2009, Small Business Committee Document No. 111-118
[ERRATA – printing error, should be 111-018] (Washington: GPO, 2009), p. 1.
Congressional Research Service

38

Small Business Management and Technical Assistance Training Programs

consensus is that the SBA’s training programs serve an important purpose and, for the most part,
are providing needed services that are not available elsewhere.
As Karen Mills, then-SBA administrator, stated during a press interview in 2010:
We find that our counseling operations are equally important as our credit operations
because small businesses really need help and advice, and when they get it, they tend to
have more sales and more profits and more longevity, and they hire more people. So we
have looked forward and said, “How do we get all the tools small businesses need into their
hands?” Maybe they want to export. Maybe they want to know how to use broadband.
Maybe they are veterans who are coming back and want to start a business or grow their
business. Our job is to make sure all that information and opportunity is accessible for
small businesses so they can do what they do, which is keep our economy strong.195
There is also a general consensus that making federal training programs more effective and
responsive to the needs of small business would help retain and create jobs. However, there are
disagreements over how to achieve that goal.
Some advocate (1) increased funding for existing programs to enable them to provide additional
training opportunities for small businesses while, at the same time, maintaining separate training
programs for specific demographic groups as a means to ensure that those groups’ specific needs
are met; (2) requiring the SBA to make more extensive use of outcome-based measures to better
determine the programs’ effect on small business formation and retention, job creation and
retention, and the generation of wealth; and (3) temporarily reducing or eliminating federal
matching requirements to enable SBA’s training resource partners to focus greater attention to
service delivery and less to fund raising.
Others argue for a merger of existing programs to reduce costs and improve program efficiency.
They advocate additional funding for SBDCs and less funding for other SBA resource partners.
They also would require the SBA to make more extensive use of outcome-based performance
measures to determine program effectiveness.
No case studies or empirical data are available concerning the efficiencies that might be gained by
merging the SBA’s training programs. Advocates argue that merging the programs would
improve communication, reduce confusion by business owners seeking assistance by ensuring
that all small business training centers serve all small business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs,
lead to more sustainable and predictable funding for the programs from nonfederal sources, and
result in more consistent and standard operating procedures throughout the country.196 Opponents
argue that any gains in program efficiency that might be realized would be more than offset by
the loss of targeted services for constituencies that often require different information and training
to meet their unique challenges and needs.197

195 David Port, “But Where Is the Money?” Entrepreneur Magazine, August 2010, at http://www.entrepreneur.com/
magazine/entrepreneur/2010/august/207500.html.
196 U.S. Congress, House Committee on Small Business, Full Committee Hearing on the State of the SBA’s
Entrepreneurial Development Programs and Their Role in Promoting an Economic Recovery
, 111th Cong., 1st sess.,
February 11, 2009, Small Business Committee Doc. No. 111-005 (Washington: GPO, 2009), pp. 3-5, 24-27, 29; and
U.S. Congress, House Committee on Small Business, Full Committee Hearing on Legislation to Reauthorize and
Modernize SBA’s Entrepreneurial Development Programs
, 111th Cong., 1st sess., May 6, 2009 (Washington: GPO,
2009), pp. 3-5, 15, 27-34.
197 U.S. Congress, House Committee on Small Business, Full Committee Hearing on the State of the SBA’s
Entrepreneurial Development Programs and Their Role in Promoting an Economic Recovery
, 111th Cong., 1st sess.,
February 11, 2009, Small Business Committee Doc. No. 111-005 (Washington: GPO, 2009), pp. 44-49; U.S. Congress,
House Committee on Small Business, Job Creation Through Entrepreneurship Act of 2009, report to accompany H.R.
Congressional Research Service

39

Small Business Management and Technical Assistance Training Programs


2352, 111th Cong., 1st sess., May 15, 2009, H.Rept. 111-112 (Washington: GPO, 2009), pp. 16-31; and U.S. Congress,
House Committee on Small Business, Women’s Business Ownership Act of 1988, report to accompany H.R. 5050,
100th Cong., 2nd sess., September 22, 1988, H.Rept. 100-955 (Washington: GPO, 1988), pp. 9, 10, 13, 14.
Congressional Research Service

40

Small Business Management and Technical Assistance Training Programs

Appendix. Brief Descriptions of SBA Management
and Technical Assistance Training Programs

Table A-1. Brief Descriptions of SBA Management and
Technical Assistance Training Programs
Program
Federal Matching
Name
Authority
Brief Description
Number
Requirement
Small Business P.L. 96-302,
Provides management and 62 lead centers and
50% match from
Development
1980
technical assistance
nearly 900 local
nonfederal sources
Center Grant
training to small
centers
comprised of not less
Program
businesses through
than 50% cash and not
centers located in leading
more than 50% of indirect
universities, colleges, and
costs.
state economic
development agencies.
Women
P.L. 100-533,
Provides long-term
136
50% match from
Business
1988
training, counseling,
nonfederal sources; not
Center Grant
networking, and
more than one-half of the
Program
mentoring to women
nonfederal matching
entrepreneurs, especially
assistance may be in the
those who are socially
form of in-kind
and economically
contributions, including
disadvantaged.
office equipment and
office space (waived from
March 27, 2020, through
June 30, 2021).
SCORE
Section 8(b)
Provides technical,
250+ chapters
None
(Service
of the Small
managerial, and
Corps of
Business Act;
informational assistance
Retired
P.L. 89-754,
to small business
Executives)
1966
concerns through in-
person mentoring by
volunteer counselors who
are working or, in most
instances, retired business
owners.
7(j) Technical
Section 7(j) of
Provides management and up to 10 service
None
Assistance
the Small
technical assistance
providers each year
Program
Business Act;
training to 8(a) certified
Section 8(a) of firms, small disadvantaged
the Small
businesses, businesses
Business Act;
operating in areas of high
P.L. 95-507,
unemployment or low-
1978
income and firms owned
by low-income individuals.
Congressional Research Service

41

Small Business Management and Technical Assistance Training Programs

Program
Federal Matching
Name
Authority
Brief Description
Number
Requirement
Microloan
P.L. 102-140,
Provides management and 155 actively lending
25% from nonfederal
Technical
1992
technical assistance
intermediaries
sources; no matching
Assistance
training to Microloan
requirement if the
Program
borrowers and, within
intermediary makes at
specified limits, to
least 50% of its loans in an
prospective Microloan
Economically Distressed
borrowers.
Area (currently waived
through September 30,
2021).
Native
Section 7(j) of
Provides management and 2 service providers
None
American
the Small
technical assistance
in FY2019
Outreach
Business Act;
training to American

Program
SBA
Indians, Alaska Natives,
regulations,
Native Hawaiians and

1994
“the indigenous people of

Guam and American
Samoa … to promote
entity-owned and
individual 8(a)
certification, government
contracting,
entrepreneurial
education, and capital
access.”
PRIME
P.L. 106-102,
Provides assistance in the
30 service providers 50% from nonfederal
Technical
1999
form of grants to
in FY2020
sources; sources such as
Assistance
nonprofit microenterprise
fees, grants, gifts, income
Program
development
from loan sources, and in-
organizations or programs
kind resources from
that have a demonstrated
nonfederal public or
record of delivering
private sources may be
microenterprise services
used to comply with the
to disadvantaged
matching funds
entrepreneurs.
requirement
Veterans
P.L. 106-50,
The SBA’s Office of
22 Veterans
None
Business
1999
Veterans Business
Business Office
Development
Development mission is
Centers and other
Programs
to (1) expand the
providers
provision of and improve
access to technical
assistance regarding
entrepreneurship for the
Nation’s veterans; and (2)
to assist veterans,
including service-disabled
veterans, with the
formation and expansion
of small business concerns
by working with and
organizing public and
private resources,
including those of the
SBA.
Sources: Federal statutes cited in table.
Congressional Research Service

42

Small Business Management and Technical Assistance Training Programs


Author Information

Robert Jay Dilger

Senior Specialist in American National Government



Disclaimer
This document was prepared by the Congressional Research Service (CRS). CRS serves as nonpartisan
shared staff to congressional committees and Members of Congress. It operates solely at the behest of and
under the direction of Congress. Information in a CRS Report should not be relied upon for purposes other
than public understanding of information that has been provided by CRS to Members of Congress in
connection with CRS’s institutional role. CRS Reports, as a work of the United States Government, are not
subject to copyright protection in the United States. Any CRS Report may be reproduced and distributed in
its entirety without permission from CRS. However, as a CRS Report may include copyrighted images or
material from a third party, you may need to obtain the permission of the copyright holder if you wish to
copy or otherwise use copyrighted material.

Congressional Research Service
R41352 · VERSION 77 · UPDATED
43