In 1953, the federal government created an independent agency to aid, assist, and protect the small businesses of America. Named the US Small Businesses Administration (SBA), the agency strives to help Americans start, build, and grow their businesses.
One of the most important things the SBA can offer is financial assistance for your business. The SBA can provide such aid as disaster assistance, special purpose loans, and various other lending programs. Though the SBA does not provide grants to help you start a business, its website does have a section with information on organizations and sites that can help you locate special purpose grants.
As an entrepreneur, you have to be an expert in many areas in order to build a successful business. The SBA can help with online courses covering every aspect of business start-up and promotion. The free, user-friendly courses cover everything from writing a business plan to building a website and preparing a loan package. There's also a course on winning contract opportunities with the federal government.
The SBA provides small business counseling and training through a variety of programs and resource partners located around the country. The SCORE Association (Service Corps of Retired Executives) is a resource partner of the SBA dedicated to entrepreneur education and the formation, growth, and success of small businesses nationwide. There are more than 10,500 SCORE volunteers in 374 chapters operating in over 800 locations who assist small business owners with business counseling and training. SCORE also operates an active online counseling initiative.
America's small businesses—some 25 million strong—are the strength of the nation's economy. They account for 50 percent of the country's private, non-farm gross national product and create between 60 and 80 percent of net new jobs.
Despite their importance to the economy, small businesses are heavily burdened by the costs of government regulation and excessive paperwork. Advocacy research shows that firms with fewer than 20 employees annually spend 45 percent more per employee than larger firms do to comply with federal regulations. SBA's Office of Advocacy was established specifically to ease this burden on entrepreneurs.
In 1976, the US Congress created the Office of Advocacy within the US Small Business Administration to protect, strengthen, and effectively represent the nation's small businesses within the federal government's legislative and rule-making processes. The Office of Advocacy works to reduce the burdens that federal policies impose on small firms and maximize the benefits small businesses receive from the government. The Office of Advocacy's mission, simply stated, is to encourage policies that support the development and growth of America's small businesses.
Access all the SBA has to offer at its website, www.sba.gov. There you can browse business tools, sign up for monthly newsletters, participate in online chat events, download podcasts, and more.