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Taking Advantage of the U.S. Small Business Administration

What Is the Small Business Administration?

Founded in 1953, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has been responsible for providing four services for small businesses: financing, education, government contracting, and political advocacy. These functions have furnished small businesses and entrepreneurs with millions of loans, loan guarantees and contracts, as well as extensive training, consultation, and technical assistance.

The SBA does even more to serve the small business community. It provides financing options such as its guaranteed loan program and venture capital program, and it offers surety bond guarantees as well, which can help small businesses get their start contracting with other businesses. The SBA partners with SCORE mentors to help deliver free counseling and offers self-paced training to business owners.  The SBA works to ensure that a substantial portion of government contracts go to small businesses, and in the past, has spoken out on behalf of small businesses in order to help promote beneficial legislation.

Help with Government Contracting

One way to use the benefits the SBA offers is to get help with government contracts. In order to work with the federal government, companies must first register with Dun & Bradstreet for a free D&B D-U-N-S® Number, as having a D-U-N-S Number is required before a company can apply for government contracts. The next step can be to search for federal, state and local government contracting opportunities through the SBA website.

Government contracts can provide great opportunities for small businesses. The U.S. Federal Government is the largest purchaser of goods and services in the United States, after all, and state and local governments also have valuable needs that they cannot fulfill without the help of private companies.

Small Business Loans Through the SBA

The SBA can also be helpful to small businesses looking to secure loans. While the SBA does not directly provide loans, it does back loans, guaranteeing that the loans will be repaid. This limits the risk (to some extent) for the lender, making loans easier to secure for the applying company. These loans are only available to businesses that do not have access to other financing options on “reasonable terms.”

The SBA also awards grants and provides some access to venture capital. However, grants are generally limited to particular fields, with many going to research projects and companies.

Visit the SBA website to learn more about the services and opportunities they provide.

Photo Credit: mrsvicmc, Twenty20

This article was originally posted on December 13, 2011, and was updated April 18, 2016 by Jennifer Crawford

All third party links will take you to a third party website not governed by the Dun & Bradstreet privacy policy. Dun & Bradstreet is not responsible for products, services, or content located on third party websites.

The information and advice provided by Dun & Bradstreet and its Credit Advisors during business credit counseling sessions are provided “as-is.” Dun & Bradstreet makes no representations or warranties, express or implied, with respect to such information and the results of the use of such information, including but not limited to implied warranty of merchantability and fitness for a particular purpose. Neither Dun & Bradstreet nor any of its parents, subsidiaries, affiliates or their respective partners, officers, directors, employees or agents shall be held liable for any damages, whether direct, indirect, incidental, special or consequential, including but not limited to lost revenues or lost profits, arising from or in connection with a business’s use or reliance on the information or advice given during any counseling session.