SBA Offers Advice To Hispanic Entrepreneurs In Honor of Nat’l Hispanic Heritage Month Ms. Bels Tuesday, September 3, 2013 Credits & Debits, The Connect, The Receipt In honor of the upcoming National Hispanic Heritage Month (October), the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA.gov) has listed several resources for Hispanics wanting to start their own business. The SBA is the premiere federal source for small business owners (or future owners) on information about business and what it all entails. The SBA has an online resource portal that allow individuals to read up on how to craft a business plan, minority ownership, payroll set-up, filing taxes as a corporation, etc. They also offer local go-to offices in most cities for people to meet face-to-face with a counselor. There are many wonderful resources and online articles that any American can refer to if need be. As a Hispanic (or minority), most of the services and information offered by the SBA is the same as non-minorities. For instance, check out the three main resources the agency offers: 1. Small Business Administration (SBA) District Offices SBA’s district offices can be found across the country. They provide free or low-cost advice and counseling on a variety of small business issues, including guidance on SBA loan options, the application process and small-business-friendly banks. Local offices also provide regular in-person and online training and workshops on a variety of topics including government contracting opportunities; disaster preparedness; assistance for veterans and minorities; the SBA loan process and more. And if you’re rebuilding your business following a federally declared disaster, there’s specialized help available. Through SBA’s disaster field offices, you can receive counseling and guidance with the disaster loan assistance process. What Not to Expect: SBA local offices don’t help you process any loan paperwork, because you must work through your bank for an SBA loan. Keep in mind that the SBA itself doesn’t provide direct loans; your lender will submit your loan package to the SBA for approval. SBA offices also don’t provide grants for start-ups or for-profit businesses. Learn more about the SBA loan process and other financing options. Find your SBA District Office now. 2. SCORE – Counselors to America’s Small Business The SCORE Association (previously known as Service Corps of Retired Executives) is a nonprofit network of retired business executives, leaders and volunteers who provide free and confidential counseling, mentoring and advice to small business owners nationwide. Sponsored by the SBA, SCORE has more than 358 chapters with 13,000 + volunteers who share their expertise through in-person and online mentoring. SCORE counselors often have a specific area of expertise for all stages of business – whether you’re starting, growing or exiting. While your primary counselor will be your main point of contact, he or she can help identify and introduce you to other specialists – from accounting and marketing to management and technology. In addition, the SCORE website is chockfull of great resources, including how-to guides and tools, online workshops and more. You’ll also find a listing of its local branches that operate in-person workshops. What Not to Expect: SCORE volunteers don’t provide small business financing or legal advice. Depending on the nature of your business concerns, you may be better served by a lawyer. Find SCORE locations near you. 3. Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs) Also sponsored by the SBA, Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs) are partnerships primarily between the government and colleges or universities that provide educational services to small business owners and entrepreneurs. They offer technical assistance through confidential one-on-one counseling, training seminars, assistance with SBA loans, business plan guidance and more. SBDC professionals can help you at any stage of the business process and are attuned to specialized business needs, including those of veterans, women, youth and other minority groups. In addition to free counseling and other low-cost training and services, several SBDCs (funding permitting) also operate resource centers that provide free use of PCs, business software and access to advice from counselors and a library of business publications. What Not to Expect: As with SCORE, SBDCs don’t provide financing or legal advice. (But many SBDCs have local partnerships with legal service providers and law offices that may provide free consultations to SBDC referrals.) In addition, not all of the services SBDCs are free, but may come at a low cost. Find your nearest SBDC. However, for Hispanics, there are two additional organizations that can offer individuals some assistance. United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (USHCC) – http://ushcc.com Minority Business Development Agency – http://mbda.gov If you or any one you know that is Hispanic (or not) and need some help on starting their business, please refer this article and/or the websites listed above.