SBDC and UNA logos.

Small Business Development Center Awarded Accreditation through 2026

Jan. 11, 2022



Michelle R. Eubanks , UNA, at meubanks@una.edu, 256.765.4392

FLORENCE, AL. – The Small Business Development Center Network, at the University of North Alabama, and part of the statewide Alabama SBDC Network housed at the University of Alabama, has been awarded full accreditation through 2026.

The SBDC accreditation review process, mandated by Congress, is based on the Malcolm Baldrige Quality Program to assure that SBDC programs operate efficiently and effectively. The SBDC is the only federally funded program to maintain accreditation and has been cited as a best practice by the U.S. Government Accountability Office.

“The final report is a great reflection of the skills and expertise of the network’s staff and the impact of their work in creating jobs in Alabama while helping small businesses start, grow, and prosper,” said Bill Cummins, Alabama SBDC State Director.

During the last five years, the statewide Alabama SBDC has successfully helped entrepreneurs launch 1,115 new businesses, facilitated more than $520 million in growth capital, and helped small businesses create more than 4,500 new jobs.

“The actual economic impact of the program is much greater,” said Mike Brooks, Alabama SBDC Associate Director. “We only report impacts that are directly attributed to SBDC assistance,”

In that same time frame, the Alabama SBDC at UNA has successfully helped entrepreneurs launch 64 new businesses, facilitated $15.5 million in growth capital, and helped small businesses create or add more than 295 new jobs.

“UNA has been a proud member of the SBDC Alabama Network for over 40 years,” said Dr. Greg Carnes, Dean of the College of Business and Technology. “The UNA SBDC serves a nine-county region, which provides the opportunity for us to have a significant impact on economic development in northwest Alabama. A key part of the mission of the UNA College of Business and Technology is to serve as a platform for collaboration with businesses in our region, and our SBDC plays a major role in this. This accreditation confirms the high quality of the UNA SBDC and of the excellent leadership of our Director, Kimberly Hughston.”

The Alabama SBDC has 10 offices and more than 40 outreach partners throughout the state. The Alabama SBDC is funded, in part, through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration.

“Alabama small business owners are indeed fortunate to have access to the outstanding assets of the Alabama SBDC Network,” said Tom Todt, Director of the Alabama District Office of the U.S. Small Business Administration. “ASBDC provides border-to-border coverage for all of Alabama’s 67 counties, to entrepreneurs at any stage of their business life cycle.”

The Association of Small Business Development Centers, the national accrediting body for SBDCs, under contract from the U.S. Small Business Administration conducted a week-long review in 2021. The review team assessed several areas of the program, including leadership and organization management, the strategic planning process, client and stakeholder focus, service delivery, and program performance. These standards ensure that the public investment in the program from the federal government, the state government, and the host institutions results in strong returns for Alabama’s economy.

“The Alabama Small Business Development Center Network is commended for commitment to the pursuit of continuous improvement,” said Jody Keenan, Chair of the America’s SBDC Accreditation Committee. “Accreditation is important for each SBDC and is essential for the national SBDC program to be recognized as a provider of high-quality business education and advising that results in credible economic impact.”

Entrepreneurs that are ready to start or grow their business can connect with an SBDC business advisor at ASBDC.org/UNA.

About The University of North Alabama

The University of North Alabama is an accredited, comprehensive regional state university offering undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral degree programs through the colleges of Arts, Sciences, and Engineering; Business and Technology; Education and Human Sciences; and the Anderson College of Nursing and Health Professions. Occupying a 130-acre campus in a residential section of Florence, Alabama, UNA is located within a four-city area that also includes Muscle Shoals, Sheffield, and Tuscumbia. UNA Athletics, a renowned collegiate athletics program with seven (7) Division II National Championships, is now a proud member of the NCAA Division I’s ASUN Conference. The University of North Alabama is an equal opportunity institution and does not discriminate in the admission policy on the basis of race, color, sex, religion, disability, age, or national origin. For more: www.una.edu and www.una.edu/unaworks/