What it Means and How it Helps us Serve Entrepreneurs and Business Owners
Extra! Extra! Read all about it! In September of 2018, the RISBDC met all the conditions for unconditional accreditation by the Association of Small Business Development Centers (ASBDC)! We’re thrilled to have received this honor relating to our work with the small business community, and wanted to share what this means, and why it’s a benefit for your small business.
In a nutshell, accreditation by the ASBDC–the national network of small business development centers–ensures that we have met all the standards required for local SBDCs. These standards involve our training, roles, and access to resources. Clients can be assured that the business counseling services they receive (at no cost!) are performed by employees rather than volunteers who regularly receive targeted professional development. It also means that we have access to a robust network of resources we can bring in, or connect our clients with, when they have a specific need on their path to business launch or growth.
The accreditation process is overseen by the ASBDC, and funded by the SBA. It is designed to promote high quality service and drive continuous improvement among all SBDCs across the country. The standards are centered around the Baldrige Criteria for Performance Development, which cover areas such as:
- Organization priorities
- Addressing stakeholder, client, and organizational needs
- Performance-based outcomes
- Strategic planning
Over the course of the evaluation period, the accreditation team reviewed our self-study and met extensively with our partners, funders, supporters, and all staff. As a result, we were awarded full accreditation without conditions–a rare event for a relatively newer program, and an accomplishment we’re quite proud of–at the ASBDC conference in September. This accreditation is good for five years, and while it shows we’ve achieved a high level of service, we also view it as a starting point from which we will continue to build and grow our program to best serve the state’s small business community.
We look forward to continuing to serve Ocean State business owners and entrepreneurs through no-cost, one-on-one business counseling, workshops, and providing critical resources. If you, or someone you know, needs assistance to launch or grow a small business in RI, give us a call and let us do what we do best!