If you intend to start a small business in Pennsylvania then you will need access to a large amount of seed money. Business owners who want to expand their operations will similarly need financing. Many people think that they can turn to the United States federal government for help, however in reality the situation is often more complicated.
The federal government usually provides small businesses with loans through their U.S. Small Business Administration, however grants are far less common. Funded by the taxpayer, the SBA will only provide free grants to businesses that are enrolled in their Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer programs.
Admittance to these programs is based upon the impact that a small business has on the local, national, and global economies. Businesses that exhibit innovation in terms of research being carried out, or products and services being offered, are accepted, whereas most typical small business are not. If your business does not operate in industries such as :
- science and technology
then you will not be able to receive a free grant from the Small Business Administration. Full details can be found at http://www.sba.gov/content/research-grants-small-businesses.
It is important to state that you have access to various businesses services as a Pennsylvania small business owner. The organizations listed below can provide you with various forms of assistance. Whether you are starting or expanding a business, they can provide you with the information you need.
Pennsylvania Small Business Development Center
There are eighteen Small Business Development Centers located at universities across the state of Pennsylvania. They support small business owners through education, advice, and information. In particular, they offer:
- access to resources on business planning, loans, and taxes
- an online learning service which teaches valuable business skills
- individual counseling and advice on growing a small business, in addition to targeted consulting on technology, environmental management, government marketing, and international business
Department of Environmental Protection
The Pennsylvania state Department of Environmental Protection runs the Small Business Assistance Program. The purpose of the program is to provide small business owners with up to date information regarding environmental regulations, thereby ensuring compliance. Also of note are:
- The Small Business Advantage Grant Program, which awards up to $7500 to small businesses to allow them to adopt energy efficient processes or technology
- The Small Business Pollution Prevention Assistance Account Loan Program, which offers loans of up to $100,000 to allow businesses with fewer than 100 employees to undertake projects to reduce waste or pollution
Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development
The Department of Community and Economic Development is an official Pennsylvania state agency. It performs many functions, but one of the most important is its role in small business assistance. Specific examples of assistance include:
- information on starting a business in Pennsylvania, including writing a business plan and finding a suitable site
- information on the various sources of financing available to small businesses in Pennsylvania
- expert advice on all registering, regulatory, and licensing issues
Office of Small Business Advocate
The Office of Small Business Advocate is a division of the Department of Community and Economic Development. The role of the office is to represent the interests of small businesses in terms of public utilities. This refers to maintaining standards as well as opposing any substantial increases in rates. The office employs attorneys in addition to support workers.
By using the services on offer, such as those highlighted above, you will have the skills you need to develop your small business. Expansion will require financing, however, which is why it is so important to know the requirements of various grant and loan providers. Only with this knowledge can you make the best decision for your Pennsylvania small business.
U.S. Small Business Administration
Philadelphia District Office
Parkview Tower 1150 First Avenue, Suite 1001
King of Prussia, PA 19406
Pittsburgh District Office
411 Seventh Avenue Suite 1450
Pittsburgh, PA 15219
State Director’s Office
3819-33 Chestnut Street, Suite 325
Philadelphia, PA 19104-3238
Office of Small Business Advocate
300 North Second Street, Suite 1102
Harrisburg, PA 17101
Phone: (717) 783-2525
Fax: (717) 783-2831
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