Small Business Administration
The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has provided capital, contracts, and counseling to small business owners since 1953. The agency's website presents in-depth guidance on business planning, start-up, management and exit strategies, SBA services, useful tools, and local resources. With the links provided here, this wealth of information is just a few keystrokes away.
From writing a business plan, to finding a mentor, to learning about financing and business regulations, a novice entrepreneur or prospective small business owner can get a great start by accessing tools on this site. Resources are also provided for successful management and growth. This Small Business Readiness Assessment Guide is designed to help you assess whether you ready to start a small business.
When you are ready to consider financing products for your small business, the SBA will guide you through the best options available for your company and location. Subjects include financing through SBA loan programs, government grants, bond options, and venture capital or other financing options. There’s also information on low-interest loans for small business owners affected by natural disasters. The section is easily navigable to find information on all their funding options starting with the SBA’s flagship 7(a) loan program.
The SBIC is a multi-billion-dollar program that provides funding to qualified investment management firms with expertise in certain sectors or industries. SBICs are privately owned and managed investment funds. SBA-licensed and regulated, they use their own capital plus funds borrowed with an SBA guarantee.
Contracting with the Federal government is a great way to help your small business grow – and many programs are available that give preference to small businesses. The SBA is there to help you every step of the way, from certification, to registration, to finding contracting opportunities, and to contract support. This enables you to not only decipher the complex procurement process, but also to prosper from it.
The SBA Learning Center provides counseling and training programs for small businesses. The Learning Center’s free courses number in the dozens. Tools include podcasts, videos, spread sheets and calculators to assist small business owners and prospective entrepreneurs.
Closer to home, SBA provides counseling and mentoring to small businesses through a variety of local programs, partners and offices – with direct links posted in the Local Resource section. These include SBA district offices located across the country, many colleges and universities with Small Business Development Centers, Veterans Business Outreach Centers, and Women’s Business Centers. Another resource partner of the SBA is SCORE (Service Corps of Retired Executives). This nonprofit resource is comprised of volunteers who offer free and confidential business counseling services to small businesses. With over 300 offices across the country SCORE's resources also include mentoring services, templates and tools, local and online workshops, as well as networking events.