1. CONSULTING ASSISTANCE PROVIDED AT NO-COST

Because the SBDC program is supported by funding from a statewide service network funded in part through cooperative agreements with the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), Defense Logistics Agency, State of Florida and other private and public partners; hosted by Florida Gulf Coast University; and nationally accredited by the Association of SBDCs. consulting is provided at no cost to you. Fees may apply for training programs, special services, materials, and publications. You will be notified of any fees in advance. SBDC consultants agree not to accept fees or commissions developing from this consulting relationship.

2. Confidentiality of Information Provided

All SBDC representatives agree to abide by the Florida SBDC’s Code of Ethics. Any information you disclose will be held in strict confidence. No information you provide will be used to the commercial advantage of any SBDC representative, SBA or to the advantage of a third party. The SBDC will collect and report in aggregate to its funders and the general public information on you such as demographic statistics; size, location, age and industry of your business; the general nature of your engagement with the SBDC; and impact statistics such as financing obtained, sales increased or jobs created.

3. Unbiased Recommendations

SBDC representatives will not knowingly recommend the purchase of goods or services from any individual or firm with which any SBDC representative has a financial, familial or personal interest.

4. Non-Disclosure of Trade Secrets

Sensitive trade secrets pertaining to unique facts of your business will not be used to benefit another client of the SBDC or any SBDC representative. You understand that sensitive trade secret information is information which is not obvious, which is unknown, or which is unique and pertains to new inventions, secret manufacturing and processing procedures or formulas, or any new innovative process. You understand that it is your responsibility to inform the SBDC of any such sensitive trade secrets both verbally and in writing.

5. Assistance, Guidance, Recommendations and Education

The SBDC program is an educational program. The SBDC will work with you on your specific issues to help build your management skills and knowledge. It is your responsibility to accept and implement recommendations. The SBDC will not: negotiate on your behalf, write your business plan or act as an employee of your business

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Help Us Make The SBDC Even Better For You!

Participate in Surveys

Because this program cares about the quality of services provided, and because it is primarily funded with public support, the SBDC undertakes a number of initiatives to ascertain the quality and impact of services provided to you. Your candid feedback is critical to the long-term success of this program. You agree to participate in a very short survey after your initial session with your SBDC consultant AND an annual client questionnaire sent in January.

Inform Legislators

Informing Legislators About the Service – Consulting services are provided at no cost to you because of the financial support in part through cooperative agreements with the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), Defense Logistics Agency, State of Florida and other private and public partners; hosted by Florida Gulf Coast University; and nationally accredited by the Association of SBDCs. To ensure the SBDC services will be available to others, we may ask you to write to your legislators to let them know about your experience with the program.

Responsibility

Accepting Responsibility and Waiving all Claims – In recognition that you are ultimately responsible for the success or failure of your business and that all decisions pertaining to implementing plans and operating your business are solely your responsibility, you hereby waive any claims of damages against us or any other entity that provides funding to the Florida SBDC program, based on any advice or information provided by the SBDC.

Frequently Asked Questions

The Florida Small Business Development Center, or SBDC, provides no-cost confidential consulting and low cost training in proven management fundamentals helping small business owners and potential entrepreneurs make sound decisions for the successful operation of their business. Visit us to start receiving consulting and low cost training.

The SBDC offers Entrepreneurial Assessment, Pre-Business and Business Planning seminars for those individuals who want general information on starting a business, or who are in the initial start-up phase. SBDC consultants can then help you with the details of turning your plan into a successful reality.

No. You only have to be considering the idea of opening a business or researching the feasibility of a proposed profit-making venture.

The SBDC provides an array of consulting services to established businesses including one-on-one consulting in business planning, marketing and promotion, financial analysis, accounting, record keeping, human resources, strategic planning, new market diversification, and other areas. In addition, the procurement technical assistance program is available for companies that want to bid on government contracts and international trade specialists are available to consult with firms that want to enter into or expand in the global marketplace. The Florida SBDC at Florida Gulf Coast University is ready to help businesses in all stages with a variety of issues.

Because of the SBDC’s funding guidelines, the Florida Small Business Development Centers are not able to assist businesses that are established as not-for-profit.

At your initial meeting, your consultant will review your business needs or proposal, determine a course of action and identify areas that both of you will be responsible for completing. Your consultant will then follow up with an engagement letter detailing your meeting and listing the items that both of you will be working on, along with an estimated time frame for completion and anticipated outcomes.

The SBDC is part of a state-wide network of colleges and university centers which is a joint venture of federal, state, and private sector agencies and organizations including the US Small Business Administration and the Florida Department of Community & Economic Development. Each agency, along with the host university or college, contributes to the financial support of the program.

The management and technical assistance services are provided at no charge to the client. Nominal fees are generally charged for training seminars and special events.

We offer no-cost business consulting services to SWFL entrepreneurs. Whether you’re thinking about starting a business, you have a new business, or you want to grow your current business, we have you covered.

Florida SBDC at Florida Gulf Coast University consultants are available to meet with you for one-on-one appointments at no cost.

Advisors can help you in many areas, such as business plan consultation, financial planning, marketing consulting, cash flow analysis and more.

Appointments are held at SBDC offices, at your organization or over webconference and can take anywhere from 45 minutes to 2 hours.

Your assigned consultant can help you determine what information will be necessary to have prior to your appointment. A consultant will call or email you prior to your appointment to be sure he/she has all of the information needed.

Determine what areas of your business you need help with immediately.
Prepare any questions or things you would like to discuss with your consultant.

Bring any costs, projections, or other numbers that will help your consultant help you (interim financials, company tax returns, personal returns for situation involving principals).

Call or stop by your nearest regional or satellite office or complete an online request for consulting.

You may also stop by your nearest regional office to obtain more information and schedule a future appointment.

Starting a Business?

Starting a business can be a rewarding,
life-changing process. We are here to help.

Is this your first time starting a business? If so, please register for one of our no-cost “Your 20 Minutes Business Plan”workshops. These workshops are offered quarterly and provide new entrepreneurs with the most important information to consider when starting a business.

The following steps may be helpful as you start your business:

STEP 1: Assess yourself with this quick readiness quiz: Click here

STEP 2: Assess your idea with this business concept feasibility checklist

STEP 3: Create a business plan by taking an online course or use our free outline

STEP 4: Learn more about steps to open a business in Florida.

STEP 5: Check out other educational opportunities with the SBDC

Success Stories

Toni Lapi Tween of Waters Resort | Florida SBDC at FGCU Success Stories Testimonials Small Business Consulting
Toni Lapi
Tween Waters Resort

One of the benefits of the Florida SBDC consulting services is they are no cost, and the best part is the consultants have been business owners who bring with them a wealth of knowledge and hands-on experience.

Dr. Lindsey Pursglove of Swimtastic | Florida SBDC at FGCU Success Stories Testimonials Small Business Consulting
Dr. Lindsey Pursglove
Swimtastic

I overcame the obstacle of funding my franchise business. With the help of the Florida SBDC I as able to secure an SBA Express Loan to open my business, Swimtastic.

We are experts at the game of business.