FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 30, 2003
CSU, Chico Research Foundation’s Center for Economic Development Awarded SBA $1 Million Grant
Mr. Jim O’Neal, district director of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), announced the award of approximately $1.5 million in grant funds to the California State University, Chico Research Foundation’s Center for Economic Development (CED) at a meeting of economic development professionals in Chico yesterday.
The 18-month grant project will establish the CED as the Lead Small Business Development Center (SBDC) to provide administrative services to the SBDC network within the designated Sacramento geographic area, which covers the following counties: Amador, Butte, Calaveras, Colusa, El Dorado, Glenn, Lassen, Modoc, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Sacramento, San Joaquin, Shasta, Sierra, Siskiyou, Sutter, Tehama, Trinity, Yolo and Yuba. The Lead SBDC will link resources of the federal, state, and local governments with the resources of the educational community and the private sector to meet the specialized and complex needs of the increasingly diverse small business community.
The concept of six SBDC lead centers in California covering the same geographical areas as SBA district offices is a new one. In the past, a single lead center in Sacramento within the state’s Technology, Trade and Commerce Agency was the primary contact for direction of the delivery of services to 31 SBDCs in California. The state’s severe budget shortage impacted its ability to continue managing the statewide SBDC system. The six regional lead centers will be co-located in the same areas served by their SBDCs to provide better oversight, training and operational program guidance, as well as closer cooperation with SBA district directors.
Dan Ripke, CED director, expressed his pleasure at receiving the award. “It will be rewarding to work with such a dedicated group of individuals at the local service centers,” he said.
As an agent of CSU, Chico, the CED supports, expands and re-emphasizes the university’s role in the regional economic development process. The CED is dedicated to improving the capacity of existing economic development practitioners, policymakers and community leaders to plan and carry out effective programs. The CED has a 17-year history of being the premiere provider of university-based economic development and business development technical assistance in Northern California. Over the years, the CED has had a strong, growing relationship with regional businesses. This role has included providing export trade information, business counseling, market analysis, business planning, and most recently, “economic gardening” business assistance. The CED has a proven track record for administering, implementing and marketing its services.