Diverse Business Owners

No-cost, confidential consulting services for Pennsylvania’s diverse business owners.

TARGETED SERVICES FOR DIVERSE BUSINESS OWNERS

The Pennsylvania Small Business Development Centers network provides services to all small business populations and makes special efforts to reach diverse business owners. Meet with our experienced business consultants for access to helpful business tools and resources.

The Pennsylvania SBDC has a statewide network of 15 centers and outreach locations to serve small businesses.

Our Featured Diverse Business Owners

Programs and Resources for Diverse Business Owners

Pennsylvania SBDC Targeted Services for Minorities
The Pennsylvania Small Business Development Centers provide services built upon existing efforts to help underserved and minority small business communities establish a clear path to empowerment and continued economic and community growth.

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Programs and Resources for Minority-Owned Businesses
SBA Contracting Certifications and Business Development Programs

Certification

  • Although the SBA doesn’t certify minority-owned businesses, it does certify small businesses considered to be socially and economically disadvantaged under its nine-year 8(a) Business Development Program. Some minority groups are presumed to be socially and economically disadvantaged, including African Americans, Hispanic Americans, Native Americans, Asian Pacific Americans, and Subcontinent Asian Americans. The 8(a) program helps these firms develop and grow their businesses through one-to-one counseling, training workshops and management, and technical guidance.  It also provides access to government contracting opportunities, allowing them to become solid competitors in the federal marketplace.
  • Small businesses seeking minority business certification should contact the National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC), which provides a direct link between corporate America and minority-owned businesses and was created to increase procurement and business opportunities for minority businesses of all sizes. The NSMDC defines a “minority group member” as a U.S. citizen with at least 25 percent minimum (with supporting documentation) Asian-Indian, Asian-Pacific, Black, Hispanic, and Native American heritage.

Financing

Membership Based Organizations

Business Opportunities

  • The Diversity Business Resource Center provides diverse entrepreneurs in the Greater Pittsburgh area with opportunities to make important business connections, to increase their company’s marketing exposure and to gain valuable market and business information.
  • Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Southeastern Pennsylvania provides Innovation Funding and loans and offers coaching/consulting to funding clients, technology development assistance, and search services.
  • The Eastern Minority Supplier Development Council certifies and connects minority business enterprises throughout Pennsylvania, Southern New Jersey, and Delaware to corporate members who wish to purchase their products, services, and solutions.

Business Planning

  • The Minority Business Development Agency(MBDA) and Business Center of Pennsylvania provides fee-based services such as procurement matching services to help clients win contracts in both the private and public (local, state, and federal) sectors, Business to Business matchmaking events and other procurement summits and workshops; access to capital through loan packaging, loan sourcing/brokering, credit restoration, lines of credit, bonding; and business consulting in the form of strategic planning and competitive analysis, as well as guidance in navigating the various certification programs.

Other

  • List your business in the Black Business Directory, Northeastern Pennsylvania’s Black and POC owned business resource. The Black Scranton Project’s goal is to list all existing Black-Owned businesses in Northeastern PA, not just Scranton! The only resource in NEPA that advertises Black & POC businesses and enterprises.

Pennsylvania SBDC Targeted Services for Veterans

The Small Business Development Centers provide services to all small business populations and make special efforts to reach members of all historically underrepresented and underserved populations, including veterans.

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SBA Office of Veterans Business Development (OVBD)

Devoted exclusively to promoting veteran entrepreneurship, the OVBD facilitates the use of all U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) programs by veterans, service-disabled veterans, reservists, active-duty service members, transitioning service members, and their dependents or survivors.

Programs and Resources

Certification

  • Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business (SDVOSB) or a Veteran-Owned Small Business (VOSB) certification is now being administered and evaluated by the Veteran Affairs Office of Small & Disadvantaged Business Utilization.
  • The Vets First Contracting Program ensures that legitimately owned and controlled VOSBs and SDVOSBs are able to compete for VOSB and SDVOSB set-aside opportunities and are accredited by the Department of Veteran Affair’s large prime contractors for subcontract plan achievements.

Financing

  • Military Reservist Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program provides funds to help an eligible small business meet ordinary and necessary operating expenses that it is unable to meet, due to an essential employee’s deployment in their role as a military reservist.
  • 44 Business Capital provides SBA loan assistance to small businesses in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Northern Virginia, and Washington D.C. They offer specialized services to educate and assist local veterans with the SBA loan program.

Training

  • Boots to Business(B2B) is an entrepreneurial education and training program offered by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) as a training track within the Department of Defense’s revised Transition Assistance Program (TAP). It is a three-phase training program developed to introduce and train transitioning service members to business ownership. In addition, participants are introduced to SBA resources available to help access startup capital and additional technical assistance. It is available free of charge at the Institute for Veteran and Military Families (IVMF) at Syracuse University.
  • Entrepreneurship Boot Camp for Veterans(EBV) is a first-of-its-kind initiative that turns veterans into entrepreneurs! The EBV program leverages the skills, resources, and infrastructure of higher education to offer cutting-edge, experiential training in entrepreneurship and small business management to post-9/11 veterans. The entire EBV experience, including travel and lodging, is offered without any cost to participating Veterans.
  • Women Veterans Igniting the Spirit of Entrepreneurship is a similar program to EBV also run by the IVMF. This free program is for female veterans from any branch and era. The program consists of a fifteen-day online course and a three-day residency at a site in the U.S. annually. The three-day residency is paid for, but transportation and the $75 application fee are not.  Hardship waivers are sometimes available.
  • Greater Philadelphia Veterans Network is a non-profit organization that offers veteran professional leadership and veteran entrepreneurship programs. They offer a Veteran Shark Tank in which aspiring veteran entrepreneurs can pitch their business plans to a panel of local CEOs and an audience. The winning pitch receives a monetary prize and business services, and all applicants receive free business coaching.

Business Planning

  • Veteran Business Outreach >Centers provides entrepreneurial development services such as business training, counseling and mentoring, and referrals for eligible veterans owning or considering starting a small business.

Other

  • The D’Aniello Institute for Veteran and Military Families (IVMF) is a veteran online career resource that has an entrepreneur track. VMF offers online resources and class-leading programs in career, vocational and entrepreneurship education, and training, providing service members, veterans, and their families with the skills needed to be successful in education, work, and life.

Pennsylvania SBDC Targeted Services for Women-Owned Businesses

The Pennsylvania Small Business Development Centers provide services to all small business populations and make special efforts to reach members of historically underrepresented and underserved populations, including women. In fact, women-and jointly-owned businesses consistently represent over half of our client base.

Understanding the unique challenges women face, Pennsylvania SBDCs provide services tailored to their specific needs:

  • Experienced, professional staff help women uncover resources and loan programs available to help them start and grow successful businesses. For instance, consultants may recommend opportunities such as SBA’s Small Loan Advantage Program, designed especially for those historically underrepresented in the business community.
  • SBDC consultants help small business owners take advantage of opportunities that level the playing field within the private and public sectors. For instance, with the 8(a) Business Development Program or Women-Owned Small Business Certification, women-owned firms capable of producing quality products and services have a more competitive position in procuring contracts.
  • The SBDCs serve women entrepreneurs by providing targeted training and technical assistance to help them compete. Regionally, SBDCs coordinate roundtables, networking groups, and forums to enable women to know the range of programs and publications available to them throughout their business ownership.

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Programs and Resources

Financing

  • Entrepreneur Works provides loans, workshops, and networking opportunities for entrepreneurs in underserved areas of the Greater Philadelphia area.
  • Women Opportunities Resource Center (WORC) provides entrepreneurial training, individual business assistance, incentive savings programs, and access to business and financial resources. The Economic Opportunities Fund is a subsidiary of WORC and a U.S. Department of Treasury Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) that offers loans, investment products and services to women and minorities in the Philadelphia Metropolitan Area looking to start or expand their businesses.

Training and Business Planning

  • Pennsylvania Women Work is a statewide nonprofit organization that provides free services to women in the form of education, job training, and job placement services. Through its New Choices program, Pennsylvania Work Women offers free classes on topics such as Career Development, Microsoft Office, Introduction to Computers, and Customer Service Training for single parents, displaced homemakers, low-income heads of households and women in transition.
  • SCORE is a nonprofit association supported by the U.S. Small Business Administration that provides free and confidential business counseling, both online and in-person, by holding events and workshops locally across the U.S. and its territories and matching up entrepreneurs with volunteer mentors. It also hosts an online resource of free business tools, templates, and tips.

Membership Based Organizations

  • Association of Women’s Business Centers is a national non-profit organization that provides women business owners and entrepreneurs with assistance through a national network of over one hundred Women’s Business Centers (WBC) supported with funding from the SBA. WBCs help women succeed in business by providing training, mentoring, business development and financing opportunities – such as help in securing rounds of venture capital.
  • National Association of Women Business Owners is a dues-based organization with chapters in the Northeast Pennsylvania, Greater Pittsburgh, and Greater Philadelphia areas that provide business resources to its constituents.

Legislative

  • Business & Professional Women in Pennsylvania is a statewide, membership-based organization that advocates for working women in Pennsylvania, addressing legislative issues that affect women’s lives and sponsoring programs and scholarships to improve women’s lives and careers.
  • Women Impacting Public Policy is a national nonpartisan public policy organization that educates women business owners on economic policy and current legislative initiatives that impact business health and growth. Its primary activity is gathering information and disseminating it to members, tracking and reviewing legislation concerning small business owners, and informing its members of legislators’ positions on issues.

Other

  • BusinessWoman is a Pennsylvania-based online and print publication with a target readership of women who are balancing their careers, families, and personal well-being.
  • Pennsylvania Conference for Women is a one-day professional and personal development event for women with featured speakers sharing inspirational stories and leading seminars on the issues such as health, personal finance, executive leadership, small business and entrepreneurship, work/life balance, branding, and social media marketing.

NO-COST AND LOW-COST BUSINESS TRAINING

In addition to our no-cost, confidential consulting services we offer no-cost and low-cost webinars and seminars to expand your business knowledge. These training events cover topics such as business planning, marketing and social media, managing your business, and more.

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