How SBA helps small manufacturing businesses
SBA is the nation’s most expansive network of financing and management support for small businesses and every year helps more than 50,000 manufacturers to:
- Sell to the federal government
- Purchase and upgrade equipment
- Expand or renovate facilities
- Acquire inventory
- Establish and implement process improvement strategies
- Develop and implement workforce recruitment and management plans
- Export to international markets
- Diversify supply chains and sales strategies
- Address cybersecurity challenges
- Conduct research and development on innovative manufacturing processes or products
Contracting opportunities, certifications, and support
The federal government is the largest purchaser of goods in the world. SBA’s government contracting assistance programs ensure that small enterprises are awarded a fair share of all federal contracts, including access to more than $32 billion in federal manufacturing-related contracts every year.
SBA supports the development of small disadvantaged businesses, such as women-owned small businesses, veteran-owned businesses, 8(a) firms, and small businesses located in Historically Underutilized Business Zones (HUBZones) by certifying eligible firms and providing training to help firms navigate the federal procurement process.
Some of the advantages of obtaining certification include:
- Qualifying for exclusive set-aside and sole-source contracts
- Partnering with established contractors to win contracts
- Receiving business mentoring and education to learn how federal contracting works and how to successfully bid on contracts
Capital for manufacturers
SBA lending and investment products help small manufacturers obtain more than $5 billion in capital to get started and grow:
- The CDC/504 Loan Program provides long-term, fixed-rate financing of up to $5 million to help manufacturers automate, upgrade, or acquire major fixed assets such as equipment and facilities that promote business growth and job creation.
- 7(a) loans provide manufacturers with vital working capital to purchase equipment, make and implement process improvement plans, acquire inventory, and hire employees.
- SBA’s Office of International Trade helps manufacturers obtain financing and technical assistance to market and export their products overseas.
- Small Business Investment Companies (SBIC) make patient equity investments in critical growth and competitiveness sectors, including manufacturing.
- Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Grants support a diverse portfolio of small businesses to meet research and development needs and increase commercialization of federal research.
- The microloan program provides loans up to $50,000 to help small businesses start up and expand. The average microloan is about $13,000.
- Disaster assistance loans can help businesses and homeowners recover from declared disasters.
Business counseling, mentors, and training assistance
SBA helps more than 16,000 small manufacturers every year develop and implement plans and strategies to expand capacity through a network of partner organizations across the country and online resources.
- Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs) provide counseling and training to small businesses.
- SCORE is a nonprofit organization that fosters small business development through mentoring and educational workshops.
- Women’s Business Centers provide training and free counseling to help firms in a wide range of industries get off the ground and grow.
- The Veterans Business Outreach Center (VBOC) program provides entrepreneurial development services such as business training, counseling, and resource partner referrals to transitioning service members, veterans, National Guard and Reserve members, and military spouses interested in starting or growing a small business. VBOCs work closely with SBA District Offices and Transition Service Managers at military installations to conduct Boots to Business classes for transitioning service members and their spouses.
- Community Navigators are a new network of organizations across the country that help provide and match firms underrepresented and underserved entrepreneurs with business support services.
- Regional Innovation Clusters are geographically concentrated networking hubs of small businesses, suppliers, service providers, and related institutions that work together to maximize resources, compete on larger scales, and drive innovation and job creation.
- The Emerging Leaders Initiative helps small enterprises, including manufacturers, to scale their business through an intensive business cohort training program.
- SBA’s Learning Center provides online resources and courses to help small businesses develop skills for success in key management fields.
- Ascent is a free digital e-learning platform geared to help women entrepreneurs grow and expand their businesses, recently adding a module on government contracting.
SBA's Manufacturing Office
Small manufacturers play a crucial role in the U.S. economy.
- There are nearly 600,000 small manufacturers in the United States. This represents 99% of all manufacturing enterprises.
- Small businesses in manufacturing employ more than 5 million people and generate more than $1 trillion in gross revenue.
- The average small manufacturer generates $5.4 million in annual revenue.
- Small businesses comprise 96.6% of all exporters in the United States and manufacturers are the largest share of exporters.
SBA’s Manufacturing Office is being established to leverage its network of assistance to support the expansion and competitiveness of small U.S. manufacturing businesses, and will:
- Advance policies that remove barriers and create opportunities for small business success
- Bolster programs that enhance capital, counseling, and contracting access
- Connect manufacturers to resources that offer assistance to small manufacturers