With Pride Month activities ramping up for June, the SBA Region X Office shares the following three resources for LGBTQ-owned small businesses most people don’t know about but should:
1. LGBTQ Business Enterprise Certification
The SBA, the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC) and its local affiliate the Greater Seattle Business Association (GSBA) – the largest local LGBTQ chamber in the world – partner together to bring free Business Builder trainings to cities across the country. The Business Builder training will come to Seattle for a special one-time event June 2.
This training provides information about LGBTQ Business Enterprise Certification which can open the door for LGBTQ businesses to access the supply chain, similar to other business certifications. Many large businesses already actively seek LGBTQ certified small businesses, such as Nordstrom, Apple, and Major League Baseball.
This Business Builder program is part of the SBA’s Many Faces/One Dream LGBTQ Outreach Initiative launched in 2013.
2. Free Business Advising and Education
Together with its resource partners, the SBA provides free, confidential, one-on-one business advising and mentoring to all entrepreneurs and small business owners.
According to research from The UPS Store, 70 percent of small businesses that receive mentoring survive more than five years, which is double the survival rate of non-mentored businesses.
Advising is offered through four SBA resource partners with locations throughout the state – SCORE, the Small Business Development Center (SBDC), Women’s Business Centers (WBC), and the Veterans Business Outreach Center (VBOC). Visit www.sba.gov/local-assistance to find the nearest resource partner location.
The SBA provides free workshops and webinars – typically one to two hours in length – on a variety of topics including starting a business, taxes, finances, marketing, and social media. These sessions are designed to provide entrepreneurs with helpful information they can immediately apply to their businesses without spending too much time away from their business.
For businesses on the brink of growth, the SBA also provides the Emerging Leaders program, a seven-month “mini-MBA” designed to help a diverse cohort of business owners work on their business rather than in their business.
3. Access to Capital
Financing is one of the most common reasons small businesses contact the SBA. The SBA Loan Guarantee Program provides a guarantee to lenders which mitigates their risk and allows them to provide loans to small businesses in circumstances where they would be unable to conventionally. SBA’s various loan programs provide loans from $500 to $5 million.
During the past fiscal year, SBA lending increased 23 percent overall. The SBA also helps small businesses find local lenders in their area through new tools like SBA LINC, an online matchmaking portal for small businesses to connect with SBA approved lenders.
About the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Region X Office:
The SBA Region X Office helps businesses in Washington state, Oregon, Idaho and Alaska start, grow and succeed in three areas referred to as “the three C’s” – Counseling, Capital and Contracting. Visit www.sba.gov/offices/regional/x for more information.