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Small Business Education/Training/Technical Assistance

Referrals for Small Businesses

Federal Counseling and Training Assistance

SBA Small Business Development Centers (SBDC) - The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) administers the Small Business Development Center Program to provide management assistance to current and prospective small business owners. SBDCs offer one-stop assistance to individuals and small businesses by providing management and technical assistance.

Senior Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE) - SBA originally sponsored the now-independent SCORE to assist in providing technical assistance, advise, and mentoring to aspiring entrepreneurs and small business owners. SCORE is a nonprofit association with 11,500 volunteer business counselors located throughout the U.S. in 389 chapters.

Women's Business Center -  are a national network of nearly 100 educational centers designed to assist women start and grow small businesses.

Veteran’s Business Outreach Centers - The Veterans Business Outreach Program (VBOP) is designed to provide entrepreneurial development services such as business training, counseling and mentoring, and referrals for eligible veterans owning or considering starting a small business. The SBA has 16 organizations participating in this cooperative agreement and serving as Veterans Business Outreach Centers (VBOC).

U. S. Export Assistance Centers Each U.S. Export Assistance Center is staffed by professionals from the SBA, the U.S. Department of Commerce, the U.S. Export-Import Bank, and other public and private organizations. They are designed to be a one-stop shop of export assistance for small- or medium-sized businesses.

SBA's Office of Native American Affairs - Develops initiatives that ensure Native Americans have access to business-development resources, training and services in their communities. The primary focus of the Office of Native American Affairs is economic development and job creation through small business ownership and education. The Office works with individual and tribally owned organizations; other federal, state, and local agencies; non-profit organizations; and national Native American organizations.

The Division of Economic Development Bureau of Indian Affairs offers management training, entrepreneurship training, and procurement assistance to native businesses on Native American reservation. 

Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) - U.S. Department of Commerce - The MBDA encourages the creation, growth, and expansion of minority-owned businesses. Technical assistance is provided to minority-owned businesses through agency workshops, conferences and direct technical assistance provision. MBDA also funds Business Development Centers around the country to assist with the start-up, expansion, and development of minority-owned firms. A directory of Minority Business Centers is available.  The MBDA also offers an Office of Native American Business Development

Office of Women's Business Ownership - OWBO promotes the growth of women-owned businesses through programs that address business training and technical assistance, and provide access to credit and capital, federal contracts, and international trade opportunities. With a women's business ownership representative in every SBA district office, a nationwide network of mentoring roundtables, women's business centers in nearly every state and territory, women-owned venture capital companies, and the Online Women's Business Center, OWBO is helping unprecedented numbers of women start and build successful businesses.

Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs)

Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) are specialized, mission-driven financial institutions that create economic opportunity for individuals and small businesses, quality affordable housing, and essential community services throughout the United States.  CDFIs typically provide training and TA, or order to improve their skills of their borrowers, in addition to their lending services.  CDFIs can be a great resource for small business borrowers looking for smaller loan amounts, borrowers that have less experience, or borrowers that have slightly higher risk profiles.

Directory of CDFI Fund Certified CDFIs (PDF) - This list of CDFI Fund Certified CDFIs, sorted by state, is maintained by the CDFI Fund.

Opportunity Finance Network offers a national CDFI coverage map to locate CDFIs.

U.S. Microenterprise Directory and Census - This searchable database, maintained by The Aspen Institute’s FIELD Program, provides information on almost 700 U.S. microenterprise programs in the United States, along with graphic profiles that provide key facts on organizations' products, services and scale as reported in the U.S. Microenterprise Census.

Entrepreneurship Development  

Startup America Partnership brings together a coalition of mentors, advisors, funders, major corporations and service providers to deliver strategic and substantive resources to help entrepreneurs start and scale companies. Startup America encourages the creation of new startups, although its principal focus is on supporting the entrepreneurs who are leading existing firms with high-growth potential (what they call "speedups").

Kauffman Foundation - Entreworld.org is a Web portal providing online resources for small business owners. It contains a search engine that can provide articles, program information, and contacts for entrepreneurs and small businesses.

The Edward Lowe Foundation provides a variety of resources to “second stage companies” – those companies that have grown past the start-up stage but have not yet reached maturity; that have enough employees to exceed the comfortable control span of one owner/CEO and benefit from adding professional managers, but they do not yet have a full-scale professional management team. Economic Gardening is a program utilizing their approach.

The Entrepreneurial League System - The ELS is an innovative approach for transforming local and regional economies by developing entrepreneurs’ skills, creating successful companies and building entrepreneurial communities

Center for Rural Entrepreneurship - The Center for Rural Entrepreneurship offers a variety of resources for entrepreneurs in rural communities. 

The Sirolli Institute uses enterprise facilitation to grow local economies.

United States Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship (USASBE) - The USASBE is an organization that advances knowledge and fosters business development through entrepreneurship education and research.

National Business Incubation Association (NBIA) - NBIA was established to advance business incubation and entrepreneurship. NBIA provides information, education, advocacy and networking resources to bring excellence to the process of assisting early-stage companies worldwide.

Procurement Resources 

The Small Business Administration (SBA) offers a number of resources to help small businesses access government contracts. 

National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC) - Providing a direct link between corporate America and minority-owned businesses is the primary objective of the National Minority Supplier Development Council. It was chartered to provide increased procurement and business opportunities for minority businesses of all sizes.

Womenbiz.gov - This is the gateway for women-owned businesses seeking access to procurement contract with the Federal government. The site offers links to assist in finding markets and business opportunities and provides key contacts for the woman entrepreneur.

Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization (OSDBU) - U.S. Department of the Interior - The primary responsibility of the OSDBU is to ensure that small businesses are treated fairly and have an opportunity to compete and be selected for a fair amount of the agency's contracting and subcontracting dollars. The OSDBU provides important information for developing small businesses.