Getting Business Assistance & Training
Take advantage of the several free counseling and training programs are available to assist you in starting your business. From low cost business training and free mentoring, selling to government, finding access to capital and expanding your business internationally, these partners can help get you started.
Small Business Resources
Access to Capital
U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA)
The U.S. SBA was created in 1953 as an independent agency of the federal government 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. The SBA helps Americans start, build and grow businesses through a number of financial programs. While SBA itself does not make loans, it does guarantee loans made to small businesses by private and other lending institutions. To learn more about applying for a guaranteed loan, please visit their website or contact your nearest district office.
California Small Business Loan Guarantee Program (SBLGP)
The Small Business Loan Guarantee Program is administered by the Business, Transportation and Housing Agency and the state’s eleven Financial Development Corporations (FDC). The program provided 1,319 guaranteed loans in Fiscal Year 2006-07, the program’s highest one-year total and an increase of 51 percent since 2002-03. It also guaranteed $161 million in financing for small businesses in FY 2005-06, an increase of 61 percent since 1999-00.
Small Business Assistance
Small Business Development Centers (SBDC)
The SBDC's assist prospective and existing small business owners in California to start, retain, or expand their businesses. The Centers assist with business plans, marketing, finance questions, and other business issues. In support of the United States Small Business Administration's Small Business Development Center program, the California Community Colleges provide fiscal and programmatic resources to the state's SBDC's. There are 34 SBDCs in California, 26 of those are hosted by a Community College. To find your nearest center, click here.
California Association for Local Economic Development (CALED)
CALED is the premier State-wide professional economic development organization dedicated to advancing its members’ ability to achieve excellence in delivering economic development services to their communities and business clients. CALED supports its members through information, technical assistance, training, education, and research. Begun in 1980, CALED has grown to over 700 members, representing cities, counties, state and federal agencies, economic development corporations, and the private sector. CALED, through its own programs and through its management of the California Academy for Economic Development, provides professional training to economic development professionals. Supportive research includes data development and analysis, modeling, and policy analysis. Specific projects focus on sustainable development, regional competition, financing, and technological support for economic development.
Service Core of Retired Executives (SCORE)
SCORE "Counselors to America's Small Business" is a nonprofit association dedicated to educating entrepreneurs and helping small businesses start, grow, and succeed. With 364 offices and 12,400 volunteer counselors nationwide, SCORE provides face-to-face mentoring as well as online counseling and workshops. SCORE has many offices in California ready to serve your needs. To find your nearest chapter, click here.
Centers for International Trade Development (CITD)
CITD provides value-added assistance to help expand your business internationally. CITD offers free or low cost services to:
- Help you succeed as an exporter, importer or global marketing organization through individualized assistance.
- Export and Import education programs for businesses and entrepreneurs.
- Provide a "Help Desk" to ask questions about international trade and help solve international business transaction challenges.
- A place to learn about international matchmaking events and other programs taking place both in California and abroad.
- An award winning international trade information resource conveniently categorized in the trade information database section of CITD’s website.
- There are 14 centers in California, to find your nearest one, click here.
The California Disabled Veteran Business Enterprise Alliance
The DVBE Alliance proudly serves California's service-disabled veteran business owners through outreach and education. Check their website at www.cadvbe.org for more information.
Selling to Government
Federal Technology Center (FTC)
The FTC promotes economic development by facilitating technology transfer between government and the private sector, and by helping small businesses successfully compete for government contracts. The FTC’s procurement assistance program serves small businesses in 54 of the California's 58 counties.
Business Matchmaking provides opportunities for small businesses to secure selling opportunities from government agencies and major corporations, both at key events and through an online network. The program unites education, training, counseling, key resources, tools, and special relationships with thousands of procurement representatives from the public and private sector. Based on the continued support by HP, American Airlines, American Express OPEN, Lockheed Martin and other private companies together with SCORE and the Latino Coalition, Business Matchmaking continues to be a free initiative for all small business participants. Check here frequently to see when free events are in your area.