Overview: Small Business School is a weekly, half-hour television show that began in 1994 and has been airing ever since. The show first began airing on PBS-member stations in the United States. In 1995 it also began airing around the world through the broadcasts of IBB Voice of America TV (VOA-TV). Cable stations throughout Canada, Latin America, South America, Africa, the Middle East, New Zealand, Poland, China and more have aired the show.
Small Business School is also this website where the key ideas of many of the episodes of the show come alive within an executive summary, transcript, case study guide and streaming video. The web site was first launched in December 1994.
In the first years of the production, PBS had a special feed to every college and university in the USA. For that feed, a case study guide was prepared for each episode. Every inch of footage had a key point. Today, there are over 2000 key points with video, transcript and analysis from over 200 episodes of the show that have all aired on PBS stations throughout the USA. These case studies are published in many of the most important business textbooks by Prentice Hall and Thomson Learning. Also, these key ideas became the foundation for the New York Times' section of their website about small business.
The people: Small Business School involves many people. However, the story begins with two small business owners, Bruce Camber and Hattie Bryant. They felt there was something missing from television. There was nothing about the men and women who are more likely to invent a new product, create a job and support their community than those big business folks who seek and get most of the media's attention.
They also believe there is something profoundly wrong with much of television. Too much programming capitalizes on and glamorizes exploitation; there is not enough about creativity and the processes of creating something of value.
Here's what others have said about Small Business School:
"This is the most informative and inspiring show for the entrepreneur that I have ever seen!"
"I saw your show and I was mesmerized. These people really do make their dreams come true."
Broadcasts of the show
The show has aired at some time in all 210 Designated Market Areas throughout the USA. In January 2008, the broadcasts will take a rest. This will be the first break since September 1994. The show will be reinvented, market-by-market, as a local show with a national presence. When there are as many as ten local shows, the show will come back on the air and it will have been re-birthed. The founders will have handed the entire production and this website to a group of new producers, the television stations, the sponsors, and the small business community.
The New Show. The best from each local show will then be broadcast nationally and globally. The goal is to have all 178 PBS-affiliate stations doing a local broadcast. When the PBS station is not interested, we will turn to their local PEG affiliates. PEG stations are public television stations often affiliated with the local government's economic development commission, the local Chambers of Commerce, and the local university.