Celebrating Black History Month

10 Ways to Support Black Entrepreneurship

By: Michael Vallante, U.S. Small Business Administration’s Associate Administrator  for the Office of Field Operations, overseeing the 68 district  offices  and  nine  Regional  Administrators; and Regional Administrator for Region IX, overseeing the agency’s programs and services in California, Arizona, Nevada, Hawaii and Guam

Valente photoDuring Black History Month, we celebrate the achievements of African Americans and recognize the central role they, as individuals and communities, contributed to U.S. history.

At the U.S. Small Business Administration, our role is to support entrepreneurs in achieving their dream of owning a business.

We celebrate the incredible contributions that Black businesses make to their local communities and the American economy. We hear from Black businesses of the socioeconomic and capital funding challenges with starting and expanding a business.

Our goal is to work with Black entrepreneurs to overcome these entrepreneurship challenges.

When an entrepreneur starts their own business, they create new jobs in the community. In fact, small businesses generate two of every three net new jobs and deliver essential goods and services to our community.

Here are the top 10 resources that small business owners can utilize today to make their entrepreneurship dream a success:

10 SBA Resources for Entrepreneurs:

1. Funding: Starting or scaling up a business requires capital. Our online Lender Match program connects entrepreneurs with financial institutions that provide business loans backed by the SBA. SBA-Guaranteed Loans can be used for most business purposes, including operating capital and financing equipment and other long-term fixed assets.

2. Business Plan Development: Small Business Development Centers offer free, one-on-one counseling, low-cost training services, market research and more.

3. Mentoring: SBA’s resources, such as SCORE provide free mentoring and education to business owners to learn from others who have been through the entrepreneurship journey. SCORE is a network of thousands of volunteer business counselors around the country who mentor and educate small business owners. SCORE provides free in-person and online counseling as well as educational workshops.

4. Scaling Up their Business: SBA’s Emerging Leader’s program is a no-cost “mini MBA,” that assists entrepreneurs take their business to the next level.  We encourage entrepreneurs to reach out to their local SBA office to find where this program is being offered and apply.

5. Assistance to Woman Entrepreneurs: Black women are starting their own business at record rates.  Women’s Business Centers assist women in starting and growing small businesses. They provide a full range of services for women entrepreneurs at all stages of planning, implementation and growth.

6. Support to Veterans with Starting their Own Business: Boots to Business is an entrepreneurial education and training program available to active duty service members (including National Guard and Reserve), veterans and their spouses in starting or growing their business.

7. Taking their Business to the International Market: Export Assistance Centers help small businesses entering the international marketplace.  Entrepreneurs can learn how to export, participate in foreign trade missions and trade shows, translate websites, and design marketing campaigns.

8.  Accessing Government Contracts: The Mentor-Protégé Program is designed for small businesses to learn from an experienced government contractor.  Women-owned business certification helps provide a level playing field for women business owners, as the government limits competition for certain contracts to businesses certified as women-owned.

9. Online Resources: SBA.gov includes online resources and information about upcoming webinars to assist entrepreneurs in overcoming common business challenges.

10. Local Support: SBA District Offices can connect you to local SBA resources, mentors and training. Visit http://www.SBA.gov for more information. 

As the Regional Administrator for the Pacific Rim for SBA, and as Associate Administrator for the Office of Field Operations for our agency, SBA recognizes the contributions of the Black community, the job-creating entrepreneurs and their families for their daily sacrifice to keeping local economies thriving. We encourage you to reach out to SBA.

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