For over 60 years, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has been helping small business owners access the funding and other resources they need to get started and succeed. Through a variety of SBA programs and initiatives, they have provided aid, counsel, and assistance to countless individuals wishing to start businesses. However, there are still many who don’t know about the resources the SBA has to offer.
If you are considering starting your own business or are looking to grow, here are six SBA programs every small business owner should know about:
- LINC | Launched in 2015, LINC (Leveraging Information and Networks to access Capital) is designed to connect small business owners with the funding they need. It works as a matchmaking service, pairing small business owners with lenders based on their needs.
- InnovateHER | Created by the SBA Office of Women’s Business Ownership, InnovateHER is an initiative challenging female entrepreneurs to create new and innovative business ideas. It includes an annual summit where female entrepreneurs can make connections and access new information, as well as the InnovateHER Business Challenge, where women can showcase their innovative products and services.
- SBA Lending Programs | Though they do not provide loans themselves, the SBA is helping small business owners access capital through various loan support programs. Through these programs, business owners are able to connect with SBA backed lenders who offer loans specifically geared towards the needs of smaller businesses and organizations.
- SCORE and the SBDC | With partial support from the SBA, SCORE and the SBDC (Small Business Development Center) are two programs that provide free business assistance from offices in local communities across the country. Their counseling can help you launch and overcome the challenges of running a business.
- SBIR & STTR | These competitive research based programs were designed to encourage more small business owners to participate in federal innovation research and development. The SBIR (Small Business Innovation Research) program is geared to incentivize small businesses to explore new opportunities in technological innovation that can be commercialized. The STTR (Small Business Technology Transfer) is another program incentivizing technological research. However, unlike the SBIR, the STTR requires a formal collaboration with a research institution.
- ONO | The Office of National Ombudsman (ONO) was created to give small business owners a voice when it comes to dealing with unfair federal regulatory enforcement. If you feel you are experiencing unfair investigations, excessive fines and penalties, or any other form of unfair enforcement, contact your regional ONO board to have them speak on your behalf.
You can learn more about these and other SBA programs on the official SBA website. Remember, these programs are available to help you prosper and achieve your goals. Make sure you are aware of what they are and what they have to offer.