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An SBDC Best-Practice Program Established in 1992
The Certified Business Advisor® (CBA) program is an eLearning certification program developed specifically for the SBDC employed professional who counsels, guides and informs potential and existing entrepreneurs.

University of Toledo edunviersal Princeton Review University of Toledo, College of Business Administration and Innovation
CBA graduates receive a certificate from The University of Toledo, College of Business Administration and Innovation (COIA)  Graduate Program. more info...

4 Distinguishing Features of
Certified Business Advisor®

  1. A third-party education institution not a member of the SBDC network awards CBA certification, thereby validating its objectivity and integrity.

  2. The University of Toledo is an AACSB accredited institution.  Meeting AACSB standards makes UT one of the fewer than 20% of all U .S. business schools in the U.S. that are AACSB accredited, and one of the top 10 percent business schools in the world.

  3. CBA is a graduate-level certification program, implemented by graduate-level professors using graduate school standards in both course development and grading.

  4. CBA allows eligible CBA graduates the opportunity to earn graduate school credit through an independent study elective.

Take the I-CBA Route to Client Counseling Success


CBA Course Modules  

CBA consists of three online modules in the following disciplines:

  • Marketing
  • Accounting/Finance
  • Human Resources

Each module includes the following topics, along with case studies and open-book exams:

  • Introduction to Marketing
  • Market Feasibility Study and Marketing Information
  • Strategic Planning, Marketing Plan and Portfolio Models
  • Customer Relationship Marketing and Consumer Behavior
  • Market Segmentation, Market Targeting, and Positioning
  • Product/Promotion/Pricing/Place Management
  • Business Entities
  • Funding Amount and Sources
  • Financial Statements
  • Financial Statement Analysis Techniques
  • Cost-Volume-Profit Analysis
Human Resources
  • Overview of HR
  • Analyzing Job & Task Requirements
  • Employment Laws
  • Assessing Need for Employees
  • Conducting Basic Applicant Screening
  • Orientation and Training
  • Compensation and Benefits
  • Safety and Health
  • Appraisal, Discipline, Termination
  • Unions
CBA includes certain topics for reading only, no exams:
  • Entrepreneur Overview
  • Assessment for Prospective Entrepreneur
  • Intellectual Property Protection
CBA Test Question Standards

Click here to view the grading rubric to understand how the essay test questions are assessed.

Registration Fee

Call for details:
(614) 466-2711 or (800) 848-1300 ext 6-2711

Refunds issued within 30 days of registration provided no exams were submitted.

The Place Where Leaders Are Made!

Developed by graduate business school professors,the CBA program offers a concise, yet comprehensive, up-to-date curriculum designed for maximum on-the-job performance.

Modules are segmented by:

  1. Marketing
  2. Accounting / Finance
  3. Human Resources

Topics and tools within each module were produced specifically for small
business/entrepreneurship development including marketing,
accounting/financial management and human resource management.

CBA also consists of required readings on Entrepreneurship and
Intellectual Property protection.

10 Benefits of
Certified Business Advisor®

CBA is beneficial for any SBDC professional who counsels and informs potential and existing entrepreneurs because it:
  1. provides assurance to clients and funding partners that all Business Advisors in the SBDC network have the business skills, competency and knowledge to effectively counsel, guide and inform entrepreneurs;

  2. serves as a review of knowledge obtained through education and experience.  CBA is, in essence, a proficiency exam, and reaffirms the Business Advisor’s knowledge in business basics;

  3. takes the pressure off the testing component of the certification process.  By learning through self-study, having professional lifelines for questions, and taking open-book exams, CBA candidates are more likely to absorb the information, rather than engaging in a “memory retention” exercise;

  4. establishes a baseline for continuity and consistency in service delivery regardless of the location;

  5. contains travel costs and reduces time away from the office;

  6. is designed to be applied immediately in the workplace. Students can integrate the material into their jobs while learning instead of waiting until the class ends.  Work and learning become one and the same;

  7. answers the need for lifelong learning.  CBA provides a framework for continuing professional development by requiring additional continuing education annually to maintain certification;

  8. meets the criteria for professional development certification training as required by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA)  and the national Association of  Small Business Development Centers (ASBDC);

  9. has been recognized continuously by SBDC accreditation teams as a “best practice”;

  10. allows eligible CBA graduates the opportunity to earn graduate school credit.

Certified Business Advisor®
Training  Testimonials

“I was hired as a market research analyst for an SBDC.  I was interested in finance and accounting when I earned my MBA, and before joining the SBDC worked as a financial analyst for a large company.  I was comfortable with data and analysis, but I did not know much about marketing.  The CBA curriculum exposed me in a detailed way to the fundamentals of marketing.  What I learned in CBA helped me better understand how market research fits into devising a firm’s marketing plan and strategy.  I purchased one of the books referenced in the curriculum for use in my office.  I’m glad I took the course.”

James Atkinson, MBA, CBA
Market Research Analyst
Arkansas Small Business Development Center
University of Arkansas at Little Rock

“I found the course to be worthwhile. I have good credentials (MBA) and a tremendous amount of experience (20+ years), including a partnership in a CPA firm.  While I had the expertise in most areas, it was a good review.  I appreciated the diversity of the coursework and think it will convey to CBA participants that they need to broaden their knowledge and experience base.  In the end, I believe that this course sets a high minimum standard for the network.”

Dan Anderson, MBA, CBA                                                                  
Director, Small Business Development Center
Montana Business Assistance Connections Inc 


“The content and depth of the material is good, and I have already used much of it when counseling clients.  I have found the information covered to be quite relevant to the tasks of a business advisor.  I truly believe the CBA program has great value.”

James R. Griggy, CBA
Summit Medina Business Alliance


Certified Business Advisor®

New Webinars being scheduled!

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Click on a Webinar listed below to view it:
Preventure Clients (Pre-Registered Ohio CBAs Only)
2013 Ohio Orientation (Ohio SBDC's Only)
Complete Listing of Webinars

Contact Us

Small Business Development Centers of Ohio
Ohio Development Services Agency
(614) 466-2711 or
(800) 848-1300 ext. 6-2711

e-mail: Domini Hunt
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© 2004-2017 Small Business Development Centers of Ohio. All rights reserved. The Certified Business Advisor® certification program is a program provided by the Small Business Development Centers of Ohio, and is registered with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. No part of this guidebook or on-line material may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means including information storage and retrieval systems without permission in writing from the Small Business Development Centers of Ohio

Funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration. The Ohio SBDC program is also funded in part by the Ohio Development Services Agency and select universities, chambers and other economic development agencies. All opinions, conclusions or recommendations expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the SBA. Reasonable accommodations for persons with disabilities will be made if requested at least two weeks in advance. For arrangements, contact Domini G. Hunt through the Ohio SBDC at 614-466-2711 or (800) 848-1300 ex. 6-2711 or via e-mail.

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