SMC — The Santa Monica College Small Business Development Center has won an excellence and innovation award from the U.S. Small Business Administration.

The center was cited for improving performance, increasing efficiency, and for being the only green business advisor in the Los Angeles area network. Federal officials said that the SMC center has the highest return on investment within its network.

“The SBDC network has been an important resource for thousands of businesses that have struggled to remain operational during the recession of the last few years,” said Michelle King, director of the SMC center. “Santa Monica College’s support as host is vital to the L.A. Regional SBDC Network’s ability to assist small businesses. It is a documented fact that supporting businesses and helping them to remain viable benefits the entire community.”

Specifically, the center was awarded the Small Business Development Center Service Excellence and Innovation Award at the 30th Annual Small Business Los Angeles District Awards, co-sponsored by the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce.

Awards were presented to 11 entrepreneurs and small business champions in the Los Angeles area who are helping to drive the regional economy and accelerate economic recovery, SBA officials said.

The SMC center was nominated for the award by James Alva, associate director of the Los Angeles Regional SBDC Network, in recognition of its green business counseling and overall performance, King said.

SBA officials noted that the SMC center specializes in supporting and developing green businesses, but other types as well, including apparel, food services, health and beauty, import/export and international trade, and entertainment.

In the 2009-10 fiscal year, the SMC center provided one-on-one counseling services to 749 clients, of which 430 were new, according to SMC. This was accomplished in part by the center’s 140 training events that reached 1,082 individuals resulting in the development of 42 new businesses and the creation of 238 jobs. During this time, the center’s clients reported $7.1 million in increased sales.

Opened in January 2006 at the Santa Monica Airport, the center provides free, confidential business counseling services to people who have a business idea and to entrepreneurs who want to grow their business or make them more environmentally friendly. It also offers low-cost basic business and legal workshops.

For more information, call (310) 434-3566 or go to

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