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Alphabet Soup

SBDC, ASBDC, SBA, SCORE, PTAC, WBC, COBE…

Acronyms are everywhere, especially in our organization. What do they mean? Who is who? Why does the government love acronyms?

I can answer the first two questions, but I suspect that the latter is one of the great mysteries of the universe up there with:

  • Why are we here?
  • Why do we die?
  • Why does time fly when you are having fun, but not when you are miserable?
  • What is this thing on my sandwich?
  • And many others

My other theory is that somehow all those letters are secretly powering the government and thus must exist in abundance to cover all the programs available.

Strange theories aside, in the case of the Idaho SBDC, it’s a more efficient way of referring to ourselves. Otherwise, saying Idaho Small Business Development Center 20 or 30 times a day would be tiresome, or devolve into that space where words become meaningless when you repeat them often enough.  Government agencies and programs rarely have the opportunity that the private sector does in choosing their names. So, we tend to be pretty utilitarian in naming, which leads to lengthy names.

However, it does lead to confusion in the marketplace. For instance, we are constantly called the SBA (Small Business Administration). They are our parent organization and one of our primary funders, and we are their training and consulting arm. I always remember it as they are the administration that takes care of the programs.

Cookies with letters shapes and sugar powder

Speaking of those programs, there is SCORE (Service Corps of Retired Executives), a sister program under the SBA that provide consulting and training through their volunteer program.  There are others, like the WBC (Women’s Business Center) who provide services focused on women but are not currently active in the Treasure Valley.

Then there’s the ASBDC (America’s Small Business Development Centers), our national advocate. They represent SBDCs everywhere by providing support, education and develop as well as performance standards for the entire network.

The PTAC (Procurement Technical Assistance Center) helps entrepreneurs tap into the government contracting market. They are also housed with us at the COBE.  Ahhhh, yet another acronym which stands for the College of Business & Economics here at Boise State where our state office and regional office are housed. The COBE of Boise State is our host institution at the state.

Confused?  It’s ok, it took me a long time to figure out who was who and how to explain it without visual aids.

Honestly, it doesn’t matter a whole lot what you call us, just as long as you call us. If you are an entrepreneur, don’t hesitate to seek help- from us or any of the partners. Generally, once you talk to one of us, you’ll be able to find the resource you need to solve your problems.