Business Counseling Programs Offered by the Small Business Administration
The U.S. Small Business Administration works in many ways to build small businesses. The agency offers a variety of tools to help both new and existing businesses. One of the agency’s primary functions is business counseling. Through business counseling, you can learn from those with business experience who have been where you want to be with your business.
Martin Short is with the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Virginia District Office. He is the Lead Economic Development Specialist and Public Information Officer.
“There is no charge for the counseling,” says Short. “The counseling is absolutely free. You can receive one-on-one counseling from here to however long you need it, free of charge. We are in the business of building businesses. When businesses are created and they grow, then jobs are created for those communities in which that business is operating.”
The Small Business Administration offers counseling, but most counseling is done through their resource partners. The Small Business Administration refers businesses to the appropriate resource partner. There are five resource partners and they all provide one-on-one counseling.
“One is the Small Business Development Center,” says Short. “They assist with accessing capital, helping entrepreneurs access capital. What we call getting them bankable or getting their application ready to apply for a loan. The other resource partner I need to speak about is SCORE. They are made up of retired business professionals that came out of leadership or executive positions. The other entity is WBC, Women’s Business Center. We have two of them. They provide counseling to primarily women, but they are open to everyone, but they primarily provide counseling to women who may encounter some challenges relating to entering the business field. The other resource partner is the Veteran’s Business Outreach Center, VBOC. They provide counseling to service members who are transitioning out of the military or retired military, or just say veterans, period. We also have another resource partner, PTAC. (The Procurement Technical Assistance Center) So, if you have an interest in getting a government contract, that is the entity you want to connect with to learn more about how the government contracting field works. So, that’s on the federal level, or the state level or the local level.”
One of those resource partners, SCORE, has a representative available for meetings at The Highland Center in Monterey the third Wednesday of each month.
Business workshops are offered through the Small Business Administration and their resource partners. Workshops are offered both in person and virtually. Visit www.sba.gov/localassistance to learn more.