SBA works with a number of local partners to counsel, mentor, and train small businesses.
Small Business Development Centers
The SCORE Association, supported by SBA, is a nonprofit association of thousands of volunteer business counselors throughout the U.S. and its territories.
SCORE members are trained to serve as counselors, advisors and mentors to aspiring entrepreneurs and business owners. Here are some of the ways you can connect with SCORE and get free business advice:
- Email a mentor: Choose a mentor online and get answers to your business questions virtually
- Visit Your Local SCORE Office: Make an appointment with a mentor for in-person advice or attend a business workshop
- Online Workshops: Participate in free, online workshops or register for small business webinars
- E-Newsletters: Subscribe to SCORE’s e-Newsletters and get free business tips and read interviews with small business experts
More about SCORE
- There are hundreds of SCORE chapters in urban, suburban and rural communities
- SCORE was formed in 1964 and millions of Americans have used SCORE services
- SCORE can help if you are trying to start a business or if you need help with your existing business
Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs) provide assistance to small businesses and aspiring entrepreneurs throughout the United States and its territories. SBDCs help entrepreneurs realize the dream of business ownership and help existing businesses remain competitive in a complex, ever-changing global marketplace. SBDCs are hosted by leading universities and state economic development agencies, and funded in part through a partnership with SBA.
SBDC advisors provide aspiring and current small business owners a variety of free business consulting and low-cost training services including: business plan development, manufacturing assistance, financial packaging and lending assistance, exporting and importing support, disaster recovery assistance, procurement and contracting aid, market research help, 8(a) program support, and healthcare guidance.
With dozens of host networks branching out with hundreds of service delivery points throughout the U.S., the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico, American Samoa and the U.S. Virgin Islands, SBDC assistance is available virtually anywhere.
Women's Business Centers (WBCs) represent a national network of nearly 100 educational centers throughout the United States and its territories, which are designed to assist women in starting and growing small businesses. WBCs seek to "level the playing field" for women entrepreneurs, who still face unique obstacles in the business world.
SBA’s Office of Women’s Business Ownership (OWBO) oversees the WBC network, which provides entrepreneurs (especially women who are economically or socially disadvantaged) comprehensive training and counseling on a variety of topics in several languages.
Doing business with the government is a big step to growing your business. Procurement Technical Assistance Centers (PTACs) provide local, in-person counseling and training services for you, the small business owner. They are designed to provide technical assistance to businesses that want to sell products and services to federal, state, and/or local governments. PTAC services are available either free of charge, or at a nominal cost. PTACs are part of the Procurement Technical Assistance Program, which is administered by the Defense Logistics Agency.
What can a PTAC do for you?
Determine if your business is ready for government contracting Pursuing government contracts is a challenge, and can be burden for your company if you do not have the resources to handle a contract. A PTAC representative can sit with you one-on-one and determine if your business is ready, and help position you for success.
Help you register in the proper places There are numerous databases to register with to get involved with the government marketplace, including the Department of Defense’s System for Award Management (SAM), GSA Schedules, and other government vendor sites. A PTAC representative can help you determine where and how to register.
See if you are eligible in any small business certifications Some government contracts are set aside for certain businesses with special certifications, such as woman-owned, small disadvantaged businesses and HUBZone. A PTAC representative can help you obtain these certifications.
Research past contract opportunities A PTAC representative can look into past contracts to see what types of contracts have been awarded to businesses like yours.
In addition, a PTAC can help you identify and bid on a contract, and if you are awarded the contract, measure your performance and help with contract audits.
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 15 organizations participating in this cooperative agreement and serving as Veterans Business Outreach Centers (VBOC).
Exporting can enable small businesses to increase sales and profit, reduce dependence on the domestic market and stabilize seasonal fluctuations. If you're ready to explore exporting, Export Assistance Centers, located in major metropolitan areas throughout the United States, can help.
Each U.S. Export Assistance Center is staffed by professionals from one or more of the following: SBA, Department of Commerce, Export-Import Bank and other public and private organizations. Together, their mission is to help small and medium sized businesses compete in today's global marketplace by providing export assistance.
These U.S. Export Assistance Centers have SBA representatives who are available to help you with all of your SBA export financing needs: Arlington, VA, Atlanta, GA; ; Boston, MA; Charlotte, NC, Chicago, IL; Cleveland, OH; Dallas/Fort Worth, TX; Denver, CO; Detroit, MI; Irvine, CA; ; Los Angeles, CA; ; Miami, FL; Minneapolis, MN; New Orleans, LA; New York, NY; Philadelphia, PA; Portland, OR; San Francisco, CA, Seattle, WA; St. Louis, MO
Certified Development Companies (CDCs) are nonprofit corporations certified and regulated by the SBA, that work with participating lenders to provide financing to small businesses. There are 270 CDCs nationwide, each covering a specific geographic area.
To find your nearest CDC, enter your zip code in our Local Asssistance tool and select "Certified Development Company" in the "Refine by Partner" section on the left.