Story picked up by newsletter needs clarification

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To the Editor:
In the article “Mason Enterprise Center To Take Over Loudoun SBDC,” [published by Leesburg Today on April 23 and picked up by the Virginia Business Daily e-News], there are misleading statements and implications that need to be clarified:

  • Not explained in the article, but critical to understanding the issue, is the fact that funding for Loudoun Small Business Development Center and MEC-Leesburg was restructured in ways that impact both of these organizations.  The end result will be that the SBDC will be dissolved as it currently stands and become an entity within the Mason Enterprise Center.  The funding situation affects only these two organizations, and there are no plans for the Mason Enterprise Center to start taking over any other SBDC offices in Virginia.
  • “The model of operating SBDCs as independent nonprofits is increasingly rare in Virginia” implies that we will be changing our operating model or our mix of hosts.  Not true.  The richness in diversity of our hosting organizations is a great asset to the Virginia SBDC Network.  
  • “The Virginia SBDC Network has directed its affiliates to focus exclusively on potentially high growth, high impact companies rather than act as a general resource for entrepreneurs seeking advice” is an inaccurate statement; and in fact it’s worrisome, because it sounds like the Virginia SBDC is abandoning its client base.

The Virginia SBDCs will continue to provide general resources and assist and support startup businesses and entrepreneurs — they represent over 40 percent of our client base and are vital contributors of new ideas and businesses.  The SBDCs are integral players in the local and regional entrepreneurial ecosystems.  In some areas, the SBDC is the only resource for general assistance — and we will continue in that role.  In other areas, the SBDC is complemented by a range of other organizations and service providers that may be better suited to provide that general assistance.  Growth firms will contribute exponentially to the economy and with access to technical assistance they could manage their growth and grow with intent.  We are tooling up to enhance our capabilities to assist these firms.
Jody Keenan
Managing director, Mason Enterprise Center
Director, Virginia SBDC Network

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