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Jobs Act grant provides $374,000 to SBDC

Small businesses will soon have access to additional resources, helping them create new jobs, increase sales and access capital, thanks to a $2.6 million grant to the Florida Small Business Development Center (SBDC) Network.  The SBDC at UNF, a part of the Network, will receive $374,000 of this total over two years.

The funding allows the SBDC Network to launch its new initiative, the Growth Acceleration Program (GAP), which targets Florida’s primary job producers—small to medium enterprises (SMEs). “National research shows that these small to medium enterprises are the primary job creators,” said Janice Donaldson, regional director of the SBDC at UNF. “What better way to assist in economic development and recovery in Florida than to put the necessary tools and knowledge into the hands of those that play a critical role in creating jobs and growing businesses?”

The funding comes as a key provision of the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010, which provided $50 million in grants to Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs) across the country. The SBDC at UNF is a partnership program funded in part by the U.S. Small Business Administration and local and regional host partners, including the University of North Florida, the City of Jacksonville, the City of Ocala, St. Johns County, Marion County and Citrus County.

GAP’s main objective is to support the creation and retention of jobs for Floridians by providing individualized, professional consultant services to entrepreneurs and small business owners. Specifically, GAP consultants will help develop sustainable growth strategies for SMEs, including strategic plan development, assessing and accessing capital, determining market diversification tactics and shoring up financial practices and relationships with financial institutions.

“We are very excited about this award, as it provides for in-depth, high-level technical assistance to North Florida’s small and medium-sized businesses—the ones with the most promise for substantial economic impact,” said Donaldson.”  GAP will target firms in business for at least three years, with 5 to 20 full-time employees, and $500,000 to $10 million in annual sales.

For more information about the Growth Acceleration Program, contact Donaldson at 904-620-2476 or e-mail

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