Resources to Help Your Business

Gene Marks and Elizabeth Macauley

Growing your business isn’t easy, but there are plenty of resources, people and organizations that can help you. The key is finding the ones that make the most sense for you and your business. And once you make the right connection, you’ll be on your way to obtaining useful recommendations, funding and ideas.

With outside help, you might be able to:

  • Take part in corporate programs that promote your business or provide grants
  • Meet potential leaders
  • Better understand cash flow
  • Improve your marketing
  • Hone your communication skills
  • Become a better manager
  • Make better investments

Below is a list of programs and resources that can help your business get to the next level.

Corporate Programs

The Hartford offers a free site to register your small business at Big Hart For Small Business. From this site, people can find your business in their local area. Registration is free and is open to any small business regardless of their association with The Hartford. The Goldman Sachs Group announced it will give $250 million to the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans through Community Development Institutions (CDFIs) and other mission-driven lenders. Lowe’s Companies, Inc., will open its first round of grant applications in its $25 million commitment to help provide relief to minority-owned businesses. This donation will fuel emergency grants in historically underserved communities, as well as other assistance, to help owners navigate business challenges during the pandemic. The Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), the nation’s largest community development organization will help manage the process of vetting applications for grants. PayPal announced a $530 million commitment to support black and minority-owned businesses and communities in the U.S., especially those hardest hit by the pandemic. The goal of these funds is to help address economic inequality. The Rockefeller Foundation pledged an initial $10 million, which it will allocate to a collective of government, business, faith-based and non-profit partners in ten places over several years. In these areas, the foundation will invest in partners, projects and programs with two core goals:

  • Protecting communities from displacement
  • Eliminating barriers to access capital and credit among low-wage workers and small businesses operated by women, black and Latinx owners.

Spectrum Parent Charter Communications, Inc. announced the creation of the Spectrum Community Investment Loan Fund. This focuses on making loans through community development financial institutions (CDFIs) to small businesses whose goods and services help meet core needs in under-served communities within the Charter’s 41-state operating footprint. The loan will invest $10 million in capitals by the end of 2021, making loans up to $1 million to each CDFI.

Small Business Programs

There are many programs designed to support small businesses with specific designations:

The Department of Transportation (DOT) Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) Program works to ensure nondiscrimination in DOT-assisted contracts.

The Association of Women’s Business Centers provides business owners and entrepreneurs with support and services, including securing rounds of venture capital.

The National LGBT Chamber of Commerce gives members resources to help them maintain and grow their business. There are also LGBT Chamber of Commerce organizations in other locations, such as:

United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (USHCC) offers tips, guidance and more for Hispanic owned businesses.

The National Association for the Self-Employed (NASE) has a grant program to help small businesses. In the past, they’ve helped provide funds to buy computers, hire part-time help and design new marketing tools.

Small Business Administration’s Veteran Business Outreach Centers are located throughout the U.S. These centers give veteran business owners training, counseling and mentoring. You can find one near you on the SBA’s website.

The Veteran and Military Business Owners’ Association (VAMBOA) provides resources to help veteran businesses grow and develop.

The Minority Business Development Agency focuses on helping businesses grow and flourish in the U.S. The agency provides educational and business resources. It also has financial and globalization information.

The National African American Small Business Loan Fund provides access to capital, financial consulting and technical help to minority-owned small businesses in:

  • New York
  • Los Angeles
  • Chicago

The National Association of Women Business Owners helps women become effective in economic, social and political spheres of power.

The National Association for Female Executives empowers women entrepreneurs with access to research, networking and educational resources.

The National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC) has 24 regional committees. NMSDC can help you get through a standard application process if your business wants to get connected with buyers in the private sector.

The National Hispanic Women’s Business Association (NHWBA) helps women business owners, professionals and executives through networking, collaboration and educational resources.

The Latin Business Association supports Latino-owned businesses with resources, programs and services.

Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE) is the nation’s largest network of volunteer and expert business mentors. It’s dedicated to helping small businesses get off the ground and achieve their goals.

Women Impacting Public Policy is a national, nonpartisan public policy organization that advocates on behalf of women and minorities in business in the legislative process. Their goal is to help create economic opportunities and build alliances to other small business organizations.

Accion is a micro-finance organization that supports minority-owned businesses by providing loans to help finance their operations.

Statewide Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of New Jersey helps businesses by providing opportunities for developing contacts with other business leaders and public officials.

In addition to these resources, there are also a variety of state agencies that can help your business.

Funding Options for Small Businesses

You also may be eligible for a number of grant and loan programs that can help fund your business, including:

Federal Programs

The Tribal Energy Development Capacity Grant Program helps tribes develop and enhance their business. It also helps maximize the economic impact of energy resource development on Indian land.

First Nations Development Institute Grants provide financial and technical resources to tribes and Native non-profit organizations to support asset-based development. And since 1980, there have been 1,703 of these grants issued successfully, totaling in $36.7 million given to Native American projects and organizations.

The Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) and EIDL Advance programs are now serving agricultural businesses. This fund will provide American farmers, ranchers and other agricultural business access to emergency capital to help them during COVID-19.

Coronavirus Food Assistance Program: Direct Support to Farmers and Ranchers (CFAP) will give financial assistance to producers of agricultural commodities who have suffered a 5% or greater price decline or had losses from market supply chain disruptions due to COVID-19.

The Small Business Administration (SBA) and U.S Treasury Department have set aside $10 billion to help fund the Paycheck Protection Program. These funds will be lent to community development financial institutions (CDFI) to help finance businesses across the U.S., including those owned by veterans, Latinos and members of the LGBTQ community.

The SBA has programs, services and funding to help LGBT small businesses. Their goal is to bring economic empowerment to LGBT businesses.

State Programs

California:

The Central San Diego Black Chamber of Commerce (CSDBCC) has created a Black Business Relief Grant Fund. Its goal is to help black businesses in San Diego county get the resources and technical assistance they need to recover, reopen and rebuild.

Illinois:

The Pritzker Administration is offering $11 million in grants to support the growth of minority-owned businesses across the state. The Office of Minority Economic Empowerment (DCEO) is overseeing the distribution.

Indiana:

The CARES Act Restart Grants will offer $30 million to help cover small business expenses related to the global pandemic, including rent, mortgage payments and utilities.

New York:

The New York Small Business Development Center (SBDC) can help small businesses with 8(a) or a Minority Women’s Business Certification take advantage of opportunities that help level the playing field within the private and public sector.

Pennsylvania:

The state budget will include $2.6 billion in federal stimulus funds through the CARES Act.

Vermont:

The Vermont COVID-19 Agricultural Assistance Program will provide relief funds to agriculture and forestry businesses.

Northeast Organic Farming Association (NOFA) of Vermont Emergency Fund is available to help Vermont certified organic and NOFA commercial farmers who are in financial need.

Every business faces challenges. Luckily, there are experts, grants and funds that can help your business succeed. Reaching out is the first step.

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