Here I come to save the day? Reassessing the efficacy of small business development centers in the Internet Era

M. Garrett Roth (Dahlkemper School of Business, Gannon University, Erie, Pennsylvania, USA)
Ryan Morris (Dahlkemper School of Business, Gannon University, Erie, Pennsylvania, USA)

Journal of Entrepreneurship and Public Policy

ISSN: 2045-2101

Publication date: 25 July 2020

Abstract

Purpose

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.

Design/methodology/approach

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.

Findings

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.

Research limitations/implications

Although the best available data, the results are tempered by low response rates and self-reporting.

Originality/value

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.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

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.

Citation

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-12-2019-0095

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Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

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