Small Business Development Center (SBDC) Experiences and Perceptions:
Vol. Volume 8, Number 2 June/2003
Catherine Ipsen, M.A, Kyle Colling, Ph.D.
This study examines the experiences and perceptions of Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs) in the delivery of self-employment services to people with disabilities. SBDC services have been found to improve self-employment outcomes for minorities, veterans, and women. Similar outcome variables are not available for people with disabilities. Findings are presented based on an exploratory survey distributed to over half of all SBDC programs across the United States. Respondents that had more experience serving people with disabilities or had more accessible program accommodations reported higher rates of people with disabilities being served in SBDC training and other services, higher referral rates between the SBDCs and state Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) agencies, and more internal resources to serve people with disabilities. The data indicate that SBDC programs could enhance services for people with disabilities by (1) extending accessible accommodations to include augmented communication devices and alternative formats; (2) building internal capacity through interagency linkages with Vocational Rehabilitation; and (3) modifying participant tracking measures to include people with disabilities.