As an entrepreneur, you do not have to start or build your business alone. There is a vast network of both government and private sector organizations to help educate and mentor you and finance your small business. Ready to start your business let’s get going!
Here I will detail your resources for support and explain their functions and benefits to you as a new business owner entrepreneur.
US Small Business Administration – SBA
Our federal government has a particular division called the US small business administration, or SBA, which has a vast network of resources from financing to government advocacy programs for small businesses. The two most valuable to new business owners are the following departments.
Office of Entrepreneurial Development
The Office of Entrepreneurial Development is a network of resource partners that help businesses start, grow, and succeed. There are District offices which serve every state in America and include 400 offices of SCORE Service Corps of Retired Executives, which are counselors to America’s small businesses, and 950 Small Business Development Centers typically located on college campuses, plus an additional 110 Women’s Business centers across America.
- SCORE – An excellent source for free business mentoring and education with over 10,000 volunteers in 300 chapters nationwide. Since 1964, 10,000,000 entrepreneurs have been helped with mentoring, workshops, and educational resources. To find your local chapter enter your city and state at the SCORE website.
- SBDC Small Business Development Center – These centers provide assistance to both existing small businesses and new entrepreneurs and are funded by universities and state economic development agencies and are in partnership with the SBA. Advisors offer a complete array of free business consulting, low-cost training services, which include writing business plans, assisting manufacturers, financial loan application preparation, lending assistance, importing and exporting guidance, recovery from disasters, healthcare, guidance, and market research. Find your state’s SBDC on this SBA list of Small Business Development Centers.
- SBA Women’s Business Centers – The Women’s Business Centers are at 100 locations across the U.S., and help women to start and grow small businesses. The SBA’s Office of Women’s Business Ownership (OWBO) manages this network for female entrepreneurs, with special help for economically or socially disadvantaged women with training and counseling in multiple languages. Locate your nearest Women’s Business Center on your state directory listing.
Office of Entrepreneurship Education – OEE
This division of the SBA provides entrepreneurial knowledge and information, tools and resources to help American small businesses succeed. It is a part of the Entrepreneurial Development network of counseling and training centers. Here, you can find applications for federal assistance, budget, and grant documents in addition to tools for entrepreneurs. These tools include the SBA local assistance tool, business plan tool, size up tool, and financial literacy tools.
Special Entrepreneurial Assistance Programs
First Time Entrepreneur
Beginning entrepreneurs can get government assistance for grant applications, credit assistance, and education. The federal website USA.gov dedicated to small business gives information such as:
- how to start your own business
- business tax information
- business loan financing
- importing and exporting
- federal government contracting
- how to start a nonprofit organization
- state business resources
The US Department of Commerce has a division called the Minority Business Development Agency whose mission is the promotion and growth of businesses that are minority-owned. They work to connect minority-owned businesses with contracts, funding, and market information to grow and succeed. The national network of MBDA Business Centers provides their clients with business assistance that helps create new jobs.
Government agencies, federal, state, and local all offer assistance to help disadvantaged people start and grow businesses. The assistance is usually in the form of a grant, and in training and technical assistance programs. The definition of a disadvantaged business is one with 51% ownership by people who are socially and economically disadvantaged.
Disabled Business Owners
The United States Department of Labor, Office Of Disability Employment Policy offers many self-employment and entrepreneurship programs. Many people with disabilities want to become self-employed or start their own business for the flexibility and adaptability advantages. You can access the Entrepreneurship Resources at the Job Accommodation Network, a division of the ODEP.
Veteran Business Owners
The SBA has a specific office dedicated to veteran entrepreneurs called the Office Of Veterans Business Development. Their mission is to availability and usability of small business programs for Veterans, Service-Disabled Veterans, Reserve Component Members, and their dependents.
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