Small businesses are always looking for ways to reduce costs. Put your tax dollars to work by using government resources to grow your small business. There is an overwhelming number of free services and assistance offered through Uncle Sam's network. In many cases, the service and assistance that is not free is offered at a considerable cost reduction compared to the cost for the same service or assistance available in the open market.
The most widely recognized and comprehensive government resource for small businesses is the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). With regional and district offices throughout the United States, the SBA offers a wide range of resources and assistance in:
- starting, marketing and managing a business
- financing options to start or grow a business
- applying for government contracts
- recovery and rebuilding from declared disasters like earthquakes, hurricanes and tornadoes.
Below are a few of the larger SBA partners, including other government agencies and a nonprofit organization.
Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA): The MBDA offers technical assistance, access to financing options, contract opportunities and new markets for business expansion and job creation. It is geared to businesses owned by members of minority communities.
Office of Veterans Business Development (OVBD): The OVBD offers assistance to veterans who are current small business owners, or who are transitioning service members who want to become small business owners. It ensures these groups have access to the full range of business and technical assistance under the SBA umbrella.
Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs): SBSCs offers expert business advice focusing on areas such as green business technology, disaster recovery and preparedness, international trade, and regulatory compliance.
Women's Business Centers (WBC): WBC offers business training, counseling, coaching and mentoring geared toward women, particularly those who are socially and economically disadvantaged.
Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE): Although SCORE is a non-profit organization rather than a government agency, the SBA still considers it an important part of its network. SCORE consists of a group of entrepreneurs, business leaders and executives who help small businesses start and grow through education, counseling and mentoring.
Armand Colson is a freelance writer. His work can be found on Examiner.com.
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