As an SBDC client you have the right to expect:
- Consulting Assistance Provided at No Charge - The SBDC program is supported by funding from the U.S. Small Business Administration, the Pennsylvania Department of Community Economic Development, Lehigh University and other funders for the purpose of educating and enhancing the managerial capabilites of entrepreneurs in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Thus, consulting clients are expected to make effective use of the services they receive in creating jobs and wealth in Pennsylvania; luikewise, clients are expected to be actively involved in their consulting projects and to learn from experience. One-on-one consulting is provided at no charge to qualified clients. Fees may apply for training programs, special services (such as research), materials, and publications.
- Confidentiality of Information Provided - All SBDC representatives agree to abide by the Pennsylvania SBDC's Standards of Professional Ethics and Conflict of Interest Policy. Information you provide will be held in strictest confidence and will not be released to any parties outside of the Pennsylvania SBDC network. Information on you will not be sold or provided to other organizations. Specific information about you and the nature of your engagement with the SBDC will not be released without your consent. No information you provide will be used to the commercial advantage of any SBDC representative or to the advantage of a third party.
- Information about the SBDC's service delivery is reported in aggregate to its funders and the general public. Specific information about you will not be released without your consent.
- The SBDC will collect and report in aggregate to its funders and the general public information on you such as demographic statistics; size, location, age and industry of your business; the general nature of your engagement with the SBDC; and impact statistics such as financing obtained, sales increased or jobs created.
- If you were referred to the SBDC, the SBDC will notify the referrer that you have sought assistance from the SBDC. The SBDC, however, will not disclose in detail the nature of the assistance you are requesting.
- Unbiased Recommendations - SBDC representatives will not knowingly recommend the purchase of goods or services from any individual or firm with which any SBDC representative has a financial, familial or personal interest.
- Non-Disclosure of Trade Secrets - Clients understand that sensitive trade secret information is information which is not obvious, which is unknown, or which is unique and pertains to new inventions, secret manufacturing and processing procedures or formulas, or any new innovative process. Clients understand that it is their responsibility to inform SBDC of any such sensitive trade secrets both verbally and in writing. Sensitive trade secrets pertaining to unique facts of clients' businesses will not be used to benefit another client of the SBDC or any SBDC representative.
- Assistance, Guidance, Recommendations and Education - The SBDC program is an educational program. The SBDC will work with you on your specific issues to help build your management skills and knowledge. It is your responsibility to accept and implement recommendations. The SBDC will not:
- Negotiate on your behalf
- Write your business plan
- Act as an employee of your business
As an SBDC client you are responsible for:
- Participating in Surveys - Because this program cares about the quality of services provided, and because it is primarily funded with public support, the SBDC undertakes a number of initiatives to ascertain the quality and impact of services provided to you. Your candid feedback is critical to the long-term success of this program.
- Informing Legislators About the Service - Consulting services are provided at no charge to you because of the financial support of the federal government and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. To ensure the SBDC program will be available to others, we may ask you to write to your legislators to let them know about your experience with the program.
- Accepting Responsibility and Waiving all Claims - In recognition that you are ultimately responsible for the success or failure of your business and that all decisions pertaining to implementing plans and operating your business are solely your responsibility, you hereby waive any claims of damages against the Lehigh University SBDC, the trustees of Lehigh University and the Pennsylvania SBDC program, the Lehigh University, the US Small Business Administration, and the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development, based on any advise or information provided by the SBDC.
I request business counseling service from the Small Business Administration (SBA) or an SBA Resource Partner. I agree to cooperate should I be selected to participate in surveys designed to evaluate SBA services. I permit SBA or its agent the use of my name and address for SBA surveys and information mailings regarding SBA products and services
. I understand that any information disclosed will be held in strict confidence. (SBA will not provide your personal information to commercial entities.) I authorize SBA to furnish relevant information to the assigned management counselor(s). I further understand that the counselor(s) agree not to: 1)recommend goods or services from sources in which he/she has an interest, and 2) accept fees or commissions developing from this counseling relationship. In consideration of the counselor(s) furnishing management or technical assistance, I waive all claims against SBA personnel, and that of its Resource Partners and Host organizations, arising from this assistance.
By means of an electronic signature I understand I am agreeing to the terms listed above.