About the Business Providers Directory
Business Research Project
Library of Congress established the Business Research Project in
1993 with a generous gift from the Edward Lowe Foundation. The Project's
mission was to stimulate productivity, innovation, and entrepreneurship
in the United States by creating and distributing better tools for
studying business, with emphasis on the needs of small and start-up
businesses. To accomplish this mission, the Project administered
a wide variety of programs in conjunction with divisions throughout
the Library of Congress, building on the Library's long tradition
of leadership in the development and dissemination of information
History and Purpose of the Survey
the late spring of 1994, the Library of Congress Business Research
Project conducted a small, nationwide sampling of nonprofit*
business information providers in order to identify peer-recommended
low or no cost information services available to the small business
the survey, nonprofit was defined as "not conducted or maintained
for the purpose of making a profit." Thus, federal, state,
and local government agencies and their affiliates were included.
Think tanks and trade associations were also to be construed as
nonprofit organizations. Banks, lending institutions, and consulting
firms and consultants, however, were considered "for profit"
The goal of the survey was two-fold:
- to compile a first draft Project database of nonprofit organizations
involved in the delivery of business information, particularly
those services known for their quality, innovation, and creativity,
as informally identified by specialists in the field of small
business assistance and by such organizations themselves; and,
- to make such a preliminary compilation widely available for
comment, revision and additions.
a better sense of the potential need for, and uses of, a comprehensive
directory of nonprofit business information providers, the Business
Research Project felt that it could not commit its limited resources
to building and permanently maintaining such a directory.
the Project has proceeded to compile a more modest, non-scientific
sampling of organizations known for innovative and quality service
to small businesses. The results of this survey follow. Comments,
suggestions and revisions are welcome, and should be addressed to
the Bibliographic Enrichment Advisory
Team or the business
The Project is particularly interested in knowing whether this
- is useful to provider organizations in identifying potential
models or partners within and between states;
- is useful to reference librarians and business counselors in
- should be developed as a volume of "best practices" in the field,
with extended profiles of innovative service organizations; and/or,
- should be developed into a comprehensive directory of all non-
profit organizations in the field.
the course of the survey, the Business Research Project contacted
342 providers of business information and assistance from all fifty
states. Staff of the Project compiled the original list of providers,
and several business specialists reviewed and augmented it. The
list included state headquarters of the SBA, SBDC, and SCORE offices,
major state and local libraries, major university libraries, private
libraries with open access, state chamber of commerce headquarters,
and some private sector business organizations providing free or
inexpensive business services.
Project sent each of the 342 organizations a background letter explaining
the survey and stating that a Project staff member would contact
the organization in the near future to ask the following two questions:
- What are the names of nonprofit service organizations in your
state that, in your judgment, do an outstanding job of providing
information and other assistance to those trying to start or run
a small business?
- In what ways are their services new or innovative, or otherwise
to the second question added approximately seventy additional providers
to the original list. Each mention of an organization in an answer
was tabulated. Of the 342 organizations contacted in Phase I of
the survey, 223 responded to the follow-up telephone survey questions.
on the results of Phase I, the Project identified seventy-seven
organizations from twenty-nine states and the District of Columbia
for inclusion in Phase II. The number of times an organization was
mentioned as providing outstanding service, combined with geographic
spread, determined which organizations became part of Phase II.
As many states as possible are represented.
II consisted of another, lengthier telephone survey during which
the Project compiled the following information on each organization:
- CONTACT PERSON'S NAME
- TELEPHONE NUMBER
- FAX NUMBER
- INTERNET ADDRESS
- INFORMATION SERVICES
- AREAS OF INTEREST
- LIMITATIONS OF SERVICE
- SOURCES OF FUNDING
- NUMBER OF STAFF
- FOUNDING DATE
- GEOGRAPHIC SERVICE AREA
- IMPACT ON REGION
staff collected detailed responses by telephone and fax, with all
results entered into a contact management software program (ACT!).
Content of the Directory
original directory consisted of the sixty-six entries compiled through
the Phase II telephone survey. Eleven organizations did not supply
the necessary information for inclusion in the directory. Each of
the sixty-six organizations originally selected by the Business
Research Project was contacted by the staff of the Business Reference
Service in 2001, and asked to update its profile for this listing.
Entries for organizations for which there was no response carry
the notation "Entry from the 1994 edition." To the original
listings, we have also added contact information for the lead Small
Business Development Center in each state.
The entries are listed alphabetically by state and organization
name, with the exception of the lead Small Business Development
Center office, which in each case, is the first listing under each