The American business landscape as we know it would not exist without the contributions of Black entrepreneurs. For more than two centuries, Black-owned businesses have built a legacy of entrepreneurial excellence prided on resilience and ingenuity. Today, an estimated 161,031 Black- or African American-owned businesses account for $183.3 billion in annual sales, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. But there’s still room for growth.

February is Black History Month. As the SBA celebrates Black entrepreneurs across the nation — especially those who have started Black-owned businesses — we recognize the need for a more representative marketplace. The following resources are available to Black entrepreneurs who want to start, grow, or expand their own business.

Local Business Assistance 

It can be hard to get your foot in the door of small business ownership, especially for entrepreneurs from underserved and underrepresented communities. SBA resource partners are here to make things easier.

  • Small Business Development Centers (SBDC): At over 900 SBDCs across the U.S., expert advisers offer no- or low-cost training and counseling to include help with writing business plans, finding funding, and more.
  • SCORE: Working to accommodate your busy schedule, the experienced business mentors at SCORE share real-world knowledge via trainings, workshops, and webinars.
  • Veterans Business Outreach Centers (VBOCs): Members of the military community receive training, counseling, referrals, and procurement guidance at 28 VBOCs across the country.
  • Women’s Business Centers (WBCs): Comprised of a 130-plus strong national network of community-based centers, WBCs help women entrepreneurs level the playing field through training and counseling.
  • Community Navigators: Designed to reduce barriers that underrepresented and underserved entrepreneurs often face, Community Navigators help individuals access business training, counseling, funding, and more.

Funding

Access to capital and cash flow have been historically difficult to come by for Black entrepreneurs. That’s one of the many reasons why SBA funding programs exist.

  • SBA-Guaranteed Loans: Reducing lender risk, SBA loan programs — 7(a), 504, microloans, and more — are designed for individuals who may not qualify for traditional financing.
  • Lender Match: Finding funding in your area is as simple as a search with the SBA’s Lender Match tool. Describe your needs, get matched, talk to lenders, and apply for a loan — all in a matter of days.
  • Small Business Investment Companies: Looking for an investor? The SBA can show you how to find one through a Small Business Investment Company.

Contracting Opportunities:

The federal government aims to set aside a significant portion of its contracting dollars to small businesses, including those designated as socially and economically disadvantaged small businesses.

  • 8(a) Business Development Program: Created to support socially and economically disadvantaged small businesses, the 8(a) certification helps small businesses better compete for set-aside and sole-source contracts.
  • HUBZone: The federal government limits competition by setting aside contracts for qualified businesses in historically underutilized business zones, also known as HUBZones.
  • Mentor-Protégé Program: By learning under an experienced government contractor, participants of the SBA Mentor-Protégé Program benefit from professional guidance, assistance, and opportunities for joint ventures.

The SBA is excited to celebrate another Black History Month. Follow @SBAgov on FacebookXLinkedIn and Instagram for more information.

Article Courtesy of the SBA