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South Dakota Small Business Development Center, sponsored by USD, receives full accreditation from state directors

Friday, October 11, 2013

VERMILLION, S.D. -- The South Dakota Small Business Development Center has received notification that they have received full accreditation after passing their accreditation review with no conditions.


The report, by a peer group of state and associate state directors, cited several areas for commendation but is especially complimentary of the organization’s ability to add value to its key stakeholders, which include the Governor’s Office of Economic Development, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), Planning and Development District III, Grow South Dakota, West River Foundation, the University of South Dakota and the Citi Bank Foundation.

“Receiving accreditation with no conditions is challenging and it has been many years since South Dakota has seen that,” said Mark Slade, Associate State Director. “In more than 15 years of being with the SBDC, this is a first.”

The South Dakota Small Business Development Center is reviewed by a team of state and associate state directors every five years. The review follows the Baldrige Criteria for Performance Excellence and focuses on organizational improvement in meeting customer needs as well as in workforce satisfaction and leadership. SBDC’s must be accredited in order to receive funding from the SBA.

“Reviewers are chosen from the most seasoned state directors and bring a wealth of knowledge to the process and they are in the state for an entire week, plus there is an extensive self-study the staff must complete ahead of time,” stated John Brown, District Director for the SBA, who attests that the standard is rigorous. “It is a chance to not only be reviewed but to learn from the best practices of the other 63 networks across the country.”

According to Nathan Lukkes, Deputy Commissioner for the Governor's Office of Economic Development, “The SBDC network is a great partner for us and we rely on them to assist small businesses across our state in not only starting up but in growing their businesses as well. It is all part of keeping our robust South Dakota economy moving forward.”

State Director Jeff Eckhoff cites the staff as the key to the SBDC’s success. “We just have the best people working for us”, said Eckhoff. “Our staff is experienced and well known and well respected in their communities. The reviewers instantly recognized the quality of our people all across the state and added a commendation in the report on their high level of motivation and professionalism.”

The South Dakota Small Business Development Center is part of a national network of 63 host sites with over 900 service centers across the country and in the U.S. territories. They are sponsored by the University of South Dakota and provide business advising on a statewide basis with offices in Aberdeen, Pierre, Rapid City, Sioux Falls, Watertown and Yankton. The SBDC network also provides assistance with government contracting, international trade, early stage funding and operational improvement and innovation for manufacturers. For more information contact the Small Business Development Center at (605) 677-5103 or


About The University of South Dakota
Founded in 1862, The University of South Dakota is designated as the only public liberal arts university in the state and is home to a comprehensive College of Arts and Sciences, School of Education, School of Health Sciences, the state's only School of Law, School of Medicine, the accredited Beacom School of Business and the College of Fine Arts. It has an enrollment of more than 10,200 students taught by more than 400 faculty members. More information is available at

This material is available in an alternate format upon request. Please contact University Relations at 605-677-5759. If you are a person with a disability and need a special accommodation to fully participate in any university activity or event, please contact Disability Services at 605-677-6389 as soon as possible, but no later than 48 hours before the event, so that appropriate arrangements may be made.



Phillip Carter
The University of South Dakota

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The GROW South Dakota Organizations Have had a Remarkable Few Years!

Grow South Dakota deployed 172 down payment and closing cost loans for a total of $1.17 million, paired with $25.2 million in partner first mortgages.

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