There are a number of free resources for small business owners or anyone who is considering starting a business or who needs help in getting started. There are mentors who can give free advice, professional services including free legal advice, networking organizations, free workshops such as on website development and much more. Find a list of resources below. While these groups will generally cater to anyone (regardless of their race, age, ethnicity, gender, etc.) some of the agencies may have specific resources or programs for women, Black or Hispanic businesses, immigrants, Asians, LGBTQ run companies and others.
The organizations will often have a number of paid staff or more likely volunteers. Women or minority businesses or anyone seeking to start a business can often get free assistance from experienced entrepreneurs of all ages, races, backgrounds, and genders. Or there will be skilled as well as seasoned professionals from a wide variety of companies as well as different industries. In all cases, the volunteers or staff at these agencies will do their best to create more opportunity and support minority as well as women business owners in their communities, including giving referrals to microloans from non-profits.
Organizations for business owners or entrepreneurs
SCORE is a nationwide non-profit organization that is part of the SBA (Small Business Administration). They give free advice, mentoring service, workshops, webinars and many other resources to small business owners as well as entrepreneurs. There may also, on occasion, be grants or interest free loans for women or minority owner businesses. Find a mentor, sign up for a class, or access other free small business resources. Read more on SCORE.
Pacific Community Ventures (PCV) is another non-profit that offers everything from loans to free advice. They have advisors around the country that will meet in person or online with business owners. On average, entrepreneurs or existing business owners that work with a PCV mentor have experienced a 20% increase in their sales. The non-profit will focus it mentor services are inner city as well as minority run businesses. Find details on Pacific Community Ventures.
Urban League Entrepreneurship Centers are focused on helping Black and Latino businesses as well as entrepreneurs. Everything from counseling to management training, financing, start up help and more is offered. A focus is on the black community, but other minority business owners including LGBTQ, Asians, or immigrants can get help too. Continue with Urban League.
The Association of Women’s Business Centers has over 100 locations across the country. Over 10,000 women (including minority women) get help from the organization. Whether it is tips on how to get financing, business development skills, networking, enrollment into free classes, Business Plan Creation services and more, assistance is provided by AWBC. They also hold workshops and conferences around the country. More on The Association of Women’s Business Centers.
Minority Business Development Agency, or MBDA, has dozens of offices across the United States. Many of them are located in cities that have a large percentage of minorities or immigrants. They offer various forms of assistance, ranging from start-up help to even support for minority owned or run businesses to help them start to sell overseas (export markets). They are also involved in issuing loans or grants to select businesses as well. Read more on Minority Business Development Agency.
The National Minority Business Council assists both minority business owners (or entrepreneurs) as well as women owners and the LGBTQ community There are communities, boot camps, conferences, workshops, and many other resources arranged. Learn more about the National Minority Business Council.
Nex Cubed is focused on helping Black Americans in the technology and internet sector. There is mentoring and help in creating financial businesses (FinTech), Digital Health, Education, and other high tech careers. The non-profit also partners with historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) as well as Black college students. Read more on Nex Cubed high tech business programs.
Veterans Business Outreach Center is part of the SBA – Small Business Development Agency. There are over 20 centers nationwide that support veterans who are looking to start a business or that are already in business. There is help with creating a business plan, information on how to get financing, free mentoring or support from other veteran owned businesses, budgeting plans and more. Find a VBOC program.
Launch.chat is a free service to use and operates as a non-profit. Launch is a free online community dedicated to sharing knowledge about developing businesses and finding people to collaborate with. The site often has very experienced users from startups as well as larger companies hanging out who like to give back by answering business start-up questions. There are people of all backgrounds in the community, including women, Black or Latino business owners, veterans who started for profit or nonprofit businesses and others. More on Launch Chat services.
Interise is a national n0n-profit organization that helps small businesses that are (1) based in lower income communities or (2) that are minority owned. The Boston based non-profit offers a number of programs including Streetwise MBA, which is educational services to help the business grow or access capital. There is help for Latinx businesses, a service called Grow My People and much more. The goal is to help lower income and minoirty businesses get funding, grow, and be successful. More on Interise.
Charities that offer financial assistance or free startup/small business help
The list above is made up of many non-profits, and they relay on government funds, donations, grants, and other sources of funding. In addition to those not for profit groups above, there are charity organizations that help the disadvantaged (the disabled, low income, women, Black, Latino, or women, etc.). They may not only offer free business advice, job training, and skills classes, but many charities also can give financial aid or free material goods to the low income.
Charities are focused on ending poverty as well as helping people gain new skills or an income. Entrepreneurship and business startups are one way to do this. Whether funding, financing, free advice, workshops, or other support, assistance is offered to minorities, veterans, and women among others. Find charities that offer free start up advice.
By Jon McNamara