This paper assesses the efficacy of the 18 small business development centers (SBDCs) located throughout the state of Pennsylvania during 2013–2016 as a proxy for publicly funded, small business consulting services in general.
The paper compares the sales growth of SBDC clients, as reported in postconsultation surveys, to comparable growth measures for the corresponding business population using one- and two-sample t-tests.
The results show that respondent clients with existing businesses clearly outperform the broader population following consultation, both in aggregate and when decomposed by region and industry.
Although the best available data, the results are tempered by low response rates and self-reporting.
The paper empirically demonstrates that SBDC clients experience higher growth in sales and employment following their consultation than the broader business population. The net benefit of such services is, however, impossible to determine.
The authors wish to thank Margaret Horne for assistance in SBDC data collection as well as John A. Ruddy, Nikolai Wenzel, and two anonymous referees for helpful comments on earlier versions of this paper.
Roth, M.G. and Morris, R. (2020), "Here I come to save the day? Reassessing the efficacy of small business development centers in the Internet Era", Journal of Entrepreneurship and Public Policy, Vol. 9 No. 3, pp. 319-328. https://doi.org/10.1108/JEPP-12-2019-0095Download as .RIS
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