OREGON SBDC NETWORK ACCREDITATION SELF STUDY 2015
THE OREGON SBDC NETWORK—An Overview
In Oregon, the economic acceleration our state experienced in 2013 has continued into 2015. Oregon was spared some of the weather-related disasters seen elsewhere in the U.S. State-wide job growth is currently at the strongest pace since 2006. This improvement was largely expected as the construction and technology sectors rebounded from their slumps. Growth state-wide accelerated as regions outside of the Portland metropolitan area participated in the recovery. In the first quarter of 2014, four out of five Oregon counties realized job gains over the year, marking the same share as during the mid-2000s expansion. Although the growth rate for some counties remains stagnant or slow (i.e., Malheur, Harney, Klamath, Josephine Coos and Curry Counties), most regions of the state are currently experiencing renewed economic vitality, especially in key sectors. Accordingly, growth opportunities for Oregon’s small businesses include value-added agriculture (i.e., wine production, craft brewing and organic food products), construction, government contracting, transportation and applied technology.
- Oregon small businesses and perspective business owners
- Host community colleges/universities
- The United States Small Business Administration
- Oregon Business Development Department
- Oregon Department of Transportation
- Oregon Public Utility Commission
- County/municipal governments
- Business and economic organizations (including economic development councils, chambers of commerce, trade associations)
- Various financial institutions and private sector partners
OREGON SBDC NETWORK HISTORY (INCLUDING START‐UP DATE AND FUNDING PARTNERS)
Since 1983, Lane Community College (LCC) has hosted the Lead Center for the Oregon Small Business Development Center Network (OSBDCN). That year, the Oregon Legislature passed HB 3602, which created a state-wide small business assistance system and appropriated Lottery-generated revenue to match federal SBDC funding. In 1984, LCC was awarded the first community college (non-university) SBA Cooperative Agreement to establish a state-wide system of 19 SBDCs in Oregon; OSBDCN currently has 17 community colleges and 2 universities hosting the local/regional SBDCs. All 19 host institutions provide additional matching funds, which further leverage the federal investment in Oregon’s SBDC service delivery.
The OREGON SBDC NETWORK is Oregon’s preeminent provider of effective and innovative business advising and training services.
Helping Build Oregon’s Best Businesses
SERVICE AREA & OFFICE LOCATIONS
- State Headquarters/Lead Center: Lane Community College, Eugene
- Local/Regional SBDCs:
- Blue Mt. Community College, Pendleton
- Central Oregon Community College, Bend
- Chemeketa Community College, Salem
- Clackamas Community College, Milwaukie
- Clatsop Community College, Seaside
- Columbia Gorge Community College, The Dalles
- Eastern Oregon University, La Grande
- Klamath Community College, Klamath Falls
- Lane Community College, Eugene
- Linn-Benton Community College, Albany
- Hood Community College, Gresham
- Oregon Coast Community College, Lincoln City
- Portland Community College, Portland
- Rogue Community College, Grants Pass
- Southern Oregon University, Medford
- Southwestern Oregon Community College, North Bend
- Tillamook Bay Community College, Tillamook
- Treasure Valley Community College, Ontario
- Umpqua Community College, Roseburg
NETWORK OFFICE STAFF
Mark Gregory, State Director
John Downing, Associate Director
Lisa Wald, Grants and Contracts Director
Nave’ Siegwald, Project Specialist
Nate Boyd, Information Technology Specialist
Dr. Gene Haugen
Mary Merrill, BSMT, EdM
SBDC DIRECTORS AND SBDC STAFFING
The Network is comprised predominantly of employees in 18 out of 19 Center Director positions. In fulfillment of its subcontract with OSBDCN/Lane Community College, Eastern Oregon University engages the services of Gregory Smith & Company, LLC to provide SBDC services. This contract has been in effect for over a decade. Otherwise, the vast majority of all support staff, advisors and instructors are employees; however, some Centers engage independent contractors for advising and training services on an ad hoc basis. The Network Office has additionally contracted with retired SBDC personnel and other experts to assist with statewide initiatives as needed.
The OSBDCN has well-established relationships with its principal federal resource partner, the U.S .Small Business Administration (SBA), and the Oregon Business Development Department (OBDD). Additionally the Network is currently engaged in major projects funded in part by the Oregon Public Utility Commission, the Oregon Employment Department, and the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT). Seventeen host community colleges and 2 regional universities provide the majority of funds required to support the Oregon SBDCs.
SIGNIFICANT CHANGES SINCE THE LAST ACCREDITATION REVIEW
The OSBDCN’s 2010 Accreditation Review yielded two conditions; both were rectified within the requisite timeframe:
- Standard 3.3 – Marketing and Promotional Programs— The Accreditation Team determined that the OSBDCN’s Branding Standards Manual required revision to conform with the regulations that govern the national Small Business Development Center program. They also noted that four OSBDCN centers did not refer to themselves as “Small Business Development Centers,” but proactively promoted themselves as “Business Development Centers.” This condition was fully satisfied via thorough revision of the Network’s branding standards and immediate cessation of “Business Development Center” nomenclature by the subject centers.
- Standard 6.1—Key Services— The Accreditation Team determined that OSBDCN’s key services were not clearly defined in the strategic plan or Operations Manual. In fulfillment of this condition, the Team noted the Network’s very successful Small Business Management program (SBM— comprehensive, cohort-based long-term training supplemented by one-on-one advising), and recommended that OSBDCN leadership “pursue the full integration of the SBM program and proactively brand this program as a product of the Oregon SBDC.” This condition and recommendation quickly facilitated OSBDCN’s adoption of SBM as our Network’s signature program.
In 2013 SBA Financial Examiner Vicky Mundt conducted a Level III on-site review, the first that OSBDCN had received in many years due to repeated Level I determinations based on desk audits. The review yielded three findings: an incorrectly completed Federal Financial Report (SF-424), an unallowable expenditure for a gift to a volunteer at the Clackamas SBDC, and an incorrectly posted Program Income fund balance at the Chemeketa SBDC. All of these issues were quickly and satisfactorily corrected. In 2014 OSBDCN once again received a Level I risk determination and, consequently, was not subject to an on-site review.
KEY LEADERSHIP CHANGES
Former State Director Michael Lainoff retired on November 1, 2014. He was succeeded by Mark Gregory, the prior Associate State Director. Mr. Lainoff remained on the Network Office staff as a half-time project manager through July 31, 2015. John Downing became OSBDCN’s new Associate State Director on July 27, 2015.
Since the 2010 Accreditation visit, 11 of the 19 SBDC Directors have been replaced, primarily due to retirements of the prior incumbents. These Centers include: Central Oregon (Steve Curley), Clackamas (Rob Campbell), Clatsop (Kevin Leahy), Columbia Gorge (Rick Leibowitz, Interim as of 7/1/15), Klamath (Kathryn “Kat” Rutledge), Linn-Benton (Marc Manley), Mt. Hood (Kedma Ough), Oregon Coast (Dave Price), Rogue (Ron Goss), Tillamook Bay (Mike Cohen), and Umpqua (Debbie Caterson, Interim as of 7/15/15).
KEY BUSINESS, OPERATIONAL, HUMAN RESOURCES CHALLENGES
Throughout its 32 year history, the OSBDCN has faced competitive challenges from a myriad of other service providers, “resource partners,” nonprofit organizations, and well-intended legislative initiatives. Many of these entities have actively competed with the OSBDCN for state appropriations. Current competitors include the Oregon Manufacturing Extension Partnership (OMEP http://www.omep.org/ ), the Oregon Innovation Council (Oregon InC http://www.oregon4biz.com/Innovate-&-Create/Oregon-InC/About/ ), and the Regional Accelerator & Innovation Network (RAIN http://oregonrain.org/ ). OMEP is a non-profit organization that “aims to help Oregon manufacturers respond to the challenges of competing in an increasingly global economy.” Oregon Inc is “a public-private partnership funded each biennium, and exists only as long as it can show it is helping create new jobs, helping create new companies, diversifying Oregon’s economy and bringing federal research dollars back to the state.” RAIN “serves the entrepreneurs in Oregon’s South Willamette Valley and Mid-Coast by helping them turn ideas into high impact, innovative, traded-sector companies that can grow and thrive locally.” These three organizations operate within the OSBDCN’s target market of high opportunity, high growth potential companies, and aggressively pursued (and received) state appropriations during the 2015 Legislative Session.
Operational Challenges – Key operational and human resource challenges stem primarily from contractual relationships with our SBDCs’ host institutions. Subcontracted employees at community college-based centers are typically locked into salary grids that often do not adequately compensate for the skill sets and experience the position of certified business advisor requires. There is also variation between community colleges in where comparable job descriptions are positioned on their respective grids—occasionally leading to significant discrepancies in salaries. Contractual goals and management processes are defined in grant subcontracts with each SBDC and their host, which can provide challenges as client and stakeholder needs change. Accordingly, OREGON SBDC NETWORK leadership has utilized collaborative management and leadership techniques, which rely on winning the support of directors and their hosts by enhancing service delivery, fully leveraging program resources and utilizing process improvement techniques. Technology integration, performance-based supplemental funding, professional development training, development of strategic planning tools, SBDC reviews, and peer counseling support have all worked to enhance our OREGON SBDC Network’s value proposition. It remains an operational challenge at times, however, to enforce full participation in OREGON SBDC NETWORK initiatives outside of contractually defined activities.
Strategic Challenges – The OREGON SBDC NETWORK operates via subcontracts with 19 separate colleges and regional universities. Over the years, we have leveraged substantial funding and administrative support from each host—until 2009, Oregon was the second-most leveraged SBDC network (per match commitment to federal funding) in the system. Challenges persist in managing an OREGON SBDC NETWORK of this size vis-à-vis contractual agreements. Overall these challenges have been mitigated by the OREGON SBDC Network leadership utilizing collaborative/team based communications, successful acquisition of new funding sources, and innovative strategic planning processes.
Sustainability Challenge — Key strategic challenges associated with OREGON SBDC NETWORK’s sustainability previously focused around reduced state funding in 2009. Additionally, federal funding for over almost two decades remained flat, which required our center hosts to increase their funding commitment to keep our programs intact. Due to OREGON SBDC NETWORK’s performance and the Return on Investment, state funding has been restored. SBA core funding has increased and supplemental grant projects have allowed the OREGON SBDC NETWORK funding to grow beyond pre-recession funding levels.
Regionally some SBDCs are experiencing cuts in their host institutions’ budget due to a reduction in state funding for institutions of higher education. Under the leadership of Governor Kitzhaber and Governor Brown, the state formula for funding of community colleges and universities has changed significantly. This change required the SBDCs to have a greater focus on training (to generate program income and enhance host institution FTE counts), while in some cases dividing SBDC Directors roles between center duties and workforce training coordination (or other assignments).
OREGON SBDC NETWORK key strategies recognize that strategic resources, both financial and human, yield outcomes. Funding stability is an overarching challenge, particularly since the ability to plan and manage OREGON SBDC NETWORK programs for long-term success is hindered by unstable state funding commitments and political uncertainty. These challenges directly correlate to program sustainability and continuous improvement. Retention of employees coupled with professional development training and recruitment are also of high importance toward yielding Oregon SBDC Network planned outcomes. These organizational challenges are addressed in the Oregon SBDC Network strategic goals and objectives. Performance reports and comparisons by year are included with accreditation evidence.
Highlights of the Oregon SBDC Network
Date Program Started
|Established 1982 at Lane Community College, in Eugene, Oregon.|
|Key Funding Sources & Amounts:
2014 US Small Business Administration (SBA Grant)
2009-13 SBA supplemental, Jobs Act, Veterans Programs
17 Community Colleges and Regional Universities (Hosts)
2015-17 Oregon Business Development Department (OBDD) two-year grant:
Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT Grants)
2010-14 Oregon Public Utility Commission (TIP Grant)
OBDD Grow Oregon Grant two-year grant
Program Income: $ 800,000 (annual average)
| Pre-venture: 2,849 (48.6 %). Established Businesses: 3013 (51.4%) (2013 CENTER IC 2013 Scorecard)
Small Business 4,925 (87.7%), Mid-sized 5-20 employees 577 (10.2 %) Large–sized Firms 116 (2.1 %)
|Oregon SBDC Network Leadership:
Executive State Director 1
Associate State Director 1
SBDC Directors 19
Support personnel 19
Professional employees 112
| 1 State-wide headquarters’ office
|Service Area||All 36 counties in Oregon.|
CY 2013 Distinct Clients 5,619 Total Training Participants 10,901 Total 16,520
|CY 2013 25,028 Counseling and Prep Hours
CY 2013 4.45 Average Hours per Client
|Capital Access Team, Market Research Institute, International Trade On-Line Training, Business On-Line Learning Portal, Oregon DOT Mentor-Protégé Program, SBM, Grow Oregon, Veterans’ SBM.|
|Mission, Vision and Values|| Mission: Helping Build Oregon’s Best Businesses
Vision: The OREGON SBDC NETWORK is Oregon’s preeminent provider of effective and innovative
business advising and training services.
| Lack of predictable, stable and reliable state and federal funding sources.
Reduction in host institutions’ budgets and contributions to SBDC operations.
Capacity limited to reach some rural clients.
Tight resources make it difficult to train staff and volunteers effectively.
Lack of comprehensive marketing plan
Changing fields of smart technology creates training challenges.
| Strong leadership with hard-working, committed network and SBDC staff
Strong financial support and relationships with host institutions
Client-focused services reflected in high satisfaction surveys
Increased work with high-growth, high-opportunity clients
Deployment of Readytalk, Zoom, Basecamp and Growth Wheel tools
State and national branding and marketing tools
Educated, experienced, informed and professional personnel
Demonstrated return on investment to funders
Banking/Financing industry and funding partner relationships
Willingness to innovate
Compliant-driven contract deliverables
Small Business Management Program and its history of success stories and FTE generation
|CY 2013: 1,679, 377 Source: Oregon Labor Market Information System|
|State/Region Small Businesses||CY 2013: 131,800 Source: Oregon Labor Market Information System|