The bill tasks Small Business Development Centers with becoming resources on internet security. How SBDCs accomplish this will be determined by the Small Business Administration and Department of Homeland Security.
SBDCs arose from the Small Business Act of 1953 to provide free or low-cost training and counseling to small business on financial, marketing, organizational and other matters. There are 63 lead centers and almost 1,000 service centers across the country. Many centers already provide some cybersecurity training.
Approximately 450,000 entrepreneurs are assisted annually by the SBDCs, which, while impressive, is a fraction of the 28 million small businesses nationwide. One challenge for the SBA will be scaling cybersecurity programs to reach as many businesses as possible.
SBDCs help business owners secure SBA-backed loans and other financing, raising $4.7 billion in 2015. Marrying cybertraining (such as an online certification course) with the SBA loan-application process could be one way to encourage best practices.
Similarly, the SBDCs help businesses secure government contracts (more than $1.1 billion in 2015). As the government increasingly considers cybersecurity in its contracting process, SBDCs are poised to assist, perhaps via the SBA's HUBZone Certification Program (which certifies small businesses for access to federal procurement opportunities).