U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA): You’re Not Alone
#SFSBW2019 asked some of our resources to share insights, best practices, and examples of how they help small business owners flourish. Today we hear from Noah Brod, Economic Development Specialist of the U.S. Small Business Administration.
The U.S. Small Business Administration helps Americans start, build, and grow businesses.
This past year the SBA helped an incredible number of business owners throughout Northern California. Over $900 million in financing went to support business owners through our programs over the last year and $100 million of that was in San Francisco alone.
Perhaps even more impressive though have been the number of businesses we’ve assisted with one-on-one counseling and advice. In California over 30,000 business owners sat down with one of our counselors this past year to work on their business and over 100,000 people came out to attend the free or low-cost classes and workshops that we hold throughout the year.
The SBA launched two new tools recently to help small business owners. The first is a newly designed local assistance search tool! Business owners can now easily find nonprofits near them where they can receive free or low-cost training and consulting services.
The other tool that SBA just launched is a redesigned search engine for events, classes, and activities where small business owners can continue to learn and grow. 1,000s of free or low-cost classes across the country are posted every year and now they’re easier to find than ever!
Start-up assistance is the number one requested service from the non-profits that SBA funds to provide free one-on-one counseling and training. In San Francisco, in addition to a local Small Business Development Center and a Women’s Business Development Center, we are happy to host one of the oldest SCORE chapters in the country, which provides significant support to new entrepreneurs.
SCORE is the nation’s largest network of volunteer, expert business mentors, with more than 10,000 volunteers in 300 chapters nationwide. The men and women that volunteer their time and expertise are dedicated to helping small businesses get off the ground and achieve their goals.
We also provide funding to Renaissance Entrepreneurship Center’s Women’s Business Center, which has helped tens of thousands of San Francisco Entrepreneurs launch their businesses over the past 35 years.
The single most pressing challenge that we hear from small business owners living and working in San Francisco is the steadily increasing cost of operating a space in San Francisco. In the past year, SBA helped 20+ businesses in San Francisco purchase their own space through our 504 program, which ensures that changes in commercial rent costs won’t push long-established small business owners out of the city. We also established a partnership with the non-profit Start Small Think Big to provide free classes on commercial lease negotiation for small business owners.
One of the things that we love about small business owners is the courage and independence that many owners show. Being willing to take a risk and do something for yourself is a key characteristic of the business owners we work with. However, doing it yourself doesn’t have to mean doing it alone. Sometimes a business owner needs some additional support or community.
We’ve found that the hardest thing for many business owners, who are so independent, is simply recognizing that they’re not alone and don’t have to go it alone. We want all small business owners to remember to reach out to SBA so that we can help connect you with the resources available to assist you and that we stand ready to assist all small businesses at any stage of their business life cycle.
The San Francisco Small Business week presents a great opportunity to celebrate the tremendous success and contributions of our local small businesses and inspire the next generation of entrepreneurs.