Throughout the country, Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs), funded by federal, state and local governments and private and public organizations, deliver counseling, training and technical assistance to small businesses. SBDCs in California are facing a shortfall as Gov. Gray Davis' proposed 2003 budget will discontinue funding for the program, beginning July 1.

Despite the elimination of $4 million in state funds, the SBA plans to continue its funding of California SBDCs and make concessions to keep the program alive and well. "The impact of the state's budget and its non-funding of the SBDC program in the Trade, Technology and Commerce Agency may result in the selection of a new host or hosts to administer the program statewide," says Johnnie Albertson, associate administrator of the SBA's Office of Entrepreneurial Development.

Among those expressing an interest in hosting the SBDC program are major California universities. While a new host is found, the SBA will continue its funding through the end of June, when the fiscal year ends.

SBDCs in other states are also feeling the crunch. "In other states with budget shortfalls, some SBDCs have experienced reductions in state matching funds for the program," Albertson says. "But most SBDCs continue to have full state support because of the job creation and favorable economic impact the program provides."