These are our favorite free government agency resources for entrepreneurs. They will help you be informed as a business owner and many are vital to running a financially viable business.
The SBA was created and has evolved over time as a vehicle to support business growth through government sponsored financial, management, procurement, and specialized outreach assistance.
Be ready. Just knowing a resource is available doesn’t prepare or qualify you for the assistance. Most of the programs require you to articulate why you are applying for assistance. To qualify for most of the financial assistance programs such as loans and grants, you will need a formal business plan that includes budgets and projections.
Navigating such a large resource can be overwhelming. Below are SBA website links we have found most useful for our Plan Forward students.
If you are interested in Federal contracting, start here.
To find funding resources, start here.
If your business model includes exporting, start here.
The Community Navigator Pilot Program is an American Rescue Plan initiative designed to reduce barriers that underrepresented and underserved entrepreneurs often face in accessing the programs they need to recover, grow, or start their businesses, start here.
USPTO - United States Patent and Trademark Office
MEP - Manufacturing Extension Partnership (National Network)
MEP is a public-private partnership with centers in all 50 states dedicated to serving small and medium-sized manufacturers by offering industry specific consulting and local resources. To find a center near you, search “Manufacturer’s Edge near me”.
To get a better understanding of their services, here is a link to the Colorado office.
IRS - Internal Revenue Service
We don’t always think of the IRS as a business resource, but they are. They want you to do it right the first time. They are not in the business of collections but are often put in that position. A big part of the IRS website is education so that you don’t make costly mistakes due to lack of knowledge. We offer the resources below to educate yourself before you work with a tax professional to help manage expectations.
Staying in the know is hard but subscribing to newsletters relevant to you will help, start here.
Understanding business tax basics is critical to your success, start here.
Knowing when to pay your taxes is important, start here.
As an employer, it is your responsibility to know Federal employment rules, start here.
OEDIT - Office of Economic Development and International Trade
Each state and many cities have Offices of Economic Development. These agencies are designed to promote economic development and sustainable job growth within their local communities. While every office is unique, they are similar in that they provide information and resources such as industry trends, incentive programs, local partners, programs and funding opportunities, links to local government agencies for business registration, licenses, and permits, etc.
As an example, here is a link to the Colorado OEDIT website.
DOL - Department of Labor
The DOL protects wage earners. They create laws and regulations for this purpose. We are providing you with the Federal website. Each state has its own site and its own set of rules and regulations which may exceed federal regulations. Therefore, you need to follow your state’s rules.
Learn more here.