U.S. Small Business Administration: Federal Agency That Helps Small Business

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) is a federal government agency that provides support to small businesses and entrepreneurs. The Administration was established in 1953 under President Dwight Eisenhower, and its mission is to “aid, counsel, assist, and protect the interests of small business concerns, to preserve free competitive enterprise, and to maintain and strengthen the overall economy of our nation.”

U.S. Small Business Administration Federal Agency that Helps Small Business

How Does the SBA Help Small Businesses?

The SBA provides small businesses with education and training, assistance with government contracting and procurement, capital in the form of loans and grants, disaster recovery assistance, as well as acting as the voice for small business when it comes to national policy matters. 

What Types of Assistance Does the SBA Provide?

The SBA’s programs include:

  • Business Guidance – As part of its educational initiatives, the SBA has an in-depth guide for entrepreneurs at all stages of business. There are helpful detailed pages of guidance for those who are looking to plan, launch, manage, and grow their business. There are also helpful downloadable document templates that can help you get started with important documents, including, for example, sample business plans
  • Loans – The SBA sets guidelines for small business loans, which ultimately reduces the risk to the lender, making it easier for small businesses to get the funding they need – at a rate they can afford.
  • Grants – Contrary to popular belief, the SBA does not provide grants for starting or expanding a business. However, SBA does provide limited grants to state agencies that assist with export development, businesses engaged in scientific research and development, as well as businesses who provide management and technical assistance to other small businesses. Grants are also provided to eligible community organizations, non-profits, educational organizations, as well as resource partners that promote entrepreneurship through counseling and training – including Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs), and organizations that support veteran-owned businesses.
  • Investment Capital – The SBA can help you to find investors through an SBA-licensed Small Business Investment Company (SBIC). The SBIC invests using a combination of private funds and SBA-guaranteed funding.
  • Federal Contracting – The U.S. government buys a wide variety of products and services every year and is the largest customer in the world. In fact, the SBA has an entire office dedicated to government contracting and business development. Every year, the SBA works with federal agencies to award a certain percentage of annual prime government contract dollars to eligible small businesses, to ensure a level playing field for businesses at all levels to have access to the profitable opportunities that exist with government contracting. It also offers assistance programs as well as counseling and help to small business contractors. The SBA’s Contracting Guide web page has a complete step by step guide that can help you prepare to submit bids for government contracts. 
  • Specialized assistance for designated Rural businesses, as well as Women-Minority-Veteran-, and LGBTQ-owned small businesses. 
  • Education and Training – SBA’s robust online learning platform is designed to empower and educate entrepreneurs at all stages of business. Explore their in-depth learning opportunities that include in-person and online training for starting, pivoting, and growing your small business, as well as a training platform that is specifically tailored for women entrepreneurs, and more. There is also a nationwide calendar of trainings and special events that contains both online and in-person local events hosted by SBA as well as by resource partners. 
  • Counseling Through Local Resource Partners – The SBA understands and advocates for the value of small business owners having access to one-to-one help and business mentorship, and their resource partners include Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs)Veteran Business Outreach Centers (VBOCs)Women’s Business Centers (WBCs), and SCORE Business Mentors, which have localized offices across the nation. 
  • Disaster Preparedness and Relief Assistance Programs – The SBA can offer assistance to businesses, homeowners, renters, and private nonprofits who have been impacted by natural disasters that include flooding, hurricanes, wildfire, and others. The SBA website allows you to search by state and county to see if there is assistance for disasters that may have occurred near you. 

The SBA’s programs and services are available to small businesses in all 50 states, Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin Islands.

How Can I Contact the SBA?

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