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S. 999 (114th): Small Business Development Centers Improvement Act of 2015

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The summary below was written by the Congressional Research Service, which is a nonpartisan division of the Library of Congress, and was published on Jun 10, 2015.

Small Business Development Centers Improvement Act of 2015

(Sec. 2) Amends the Small Business Act with respect to the authority of the Small Business Administration (SBA) to use certain SBA programs, including the small business development center (SBDC) program, to provide grants, financial assistance, loans, export assistance, and subcontracting opportunities on federal contracts to specified small businesses, organizations, state governments, universities, companies, and other entities that assist smaller enterprises.

Declares that the SBA shall only use such programs to deliver entrepreneurial development services, entrepreneurial education, support for the development and maintenance of clusters, or business training.

Makes such program requirements inapplicable to:

services provided to assist small businesses owned by an Indian tribe; activities and programs in support of members of the Armed Forces (including the Army National Guard, the Army Reserve, the Navy Reserve, the Marine Corps Reserve, the Air National Guard, the Air Force Reserve, and the Coast Guard), a veteran, or a spouse of a member of the Armed Forces or a veteran; or the Microenterprise Technical Assistance and Capacity Building Program, the State Trade and Export Promotion Grant Program, and the Federal and State Technology Partnership Program. (Sec. 3) Bars the SBA from prohibiting grant recipients under the SBDC program from marketing and advertising their services to individuals and small businesses.

(Sec. 4) Directs the SBA to consult with SBDC associations to develop documents governing data collection activities related to grant recipients.

(Sec. 5) Prohibits participation in private partnerships and cosponsorships with the SBA from limiting SBDCs from collecting fees or other income related to the operation of such partnerships and cosponsorships.

(Sec. 6) Removes a limitation on the amount of funds the SBA may use to pay the examination expenses of the SBDC accreditation program.

(Sec. 7) Authorizes the SBA to permit a SBDC to provide advice, information, and assistance to small businesses outside the SBDC's state, without regard to geographic proximity, if the small business is in a declared major disaster area.

(Sec. 8) Revises privacy requirements under the program to specify that SBDCs (including consortia and affiliated contractors or agents) are prohibited, subject to existing exceptions, from disclosing certain identifying information of any individual or small business receiving assistance to any state, local, or federal agency or third party.

(Sec. 9) Prohibits the SBA from awarding grants (including contracts and cooperative agreements) under the SBDC program to any entity other than those that: (1) received such grants before September 30, 2015; and (2) seek to renew them after such date. Exempts not-for-profit institutions of higher education from such prohibition.