Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Accreditation Review 2016

In August a review team from the America’s SBDC Accreditation Committee visited the Central Office and Regional Centers across New York State. The review team was led by Katie Sewell, Idaho SBDC State Director. The other team members were Arizona SBDC State Director Janice Washington, Kansas SBDC State Director Greg Panichello, and Georgia SBDC Associate State Director Beth Melnik (who also serves as the Chair of the Accreditation Committee).

The team was in New York for a week, beginning with a review of the Central Office in Albany. The reviewers were then escorted by NY SBDC senior staff to the Albany Regional Center and departed to conduct separate tours of Regional Centers in the northern, western, central and eastern, and greater NYC and Long Island regions of the state. Reviewers met with Regional Center staff, Advisory Board members, SBA District (3) officials, and representatives of NY SBDC partners and allies. Three of the reviewers were accompanied by observers from SBDC programs (TX, NC and MD) who wanted to observe and train on the accreditation process. Upon returning to Albany the reviewers related a summary report of findings on the NY SBDC program, based on their observations and a written report was provided following Accreditation Committee review and approval.

Accreditation is critical for SBDCs and essential for the national SBDC program to be recognized as a consistent provider of high quality business education and advising resulting in credible economic impact. Accreditation qualifies each SBDC to apply for federal (SBA) funds, administered by the Office of Small Business Development Centers. 

Based on the review team’s on-site review, final written report and presentation by the accreditation review team to the full Committee, the Accreditation Committee at its meeting in September voted to accept the recommendation of the review team to fully accredit the New York Small Business Development Center Network, without conditions. The NY SBDC also applied for and earned the specialized Technology and Commercialization Accreditation, also without conditions. The SBA’s oversight division, the Office of SBDCs, concurred with the Committee’s findings. National Accreditation is a five year acknowledgement that will expire on December 31, 2021. The SBDC Accreditation process is based on continuous improvement and the National Baldridge Standards of excellence in service. This helps ensure that every SBDC program is continually undergoing self-analysis and growth in a dynamic improvement effort to fully meet the needs of America’s small business and entrepreneurial sectors.

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