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Best Resources for Startups

Here's an insider's guide to 4 of the best startup resources.
March 17, 2009
Best Resources for Startups

It's a jungle out there, especially for startups. Good news, though: Information, advice and assistance are available--often at no charge. Armed with the proper coordinates, you can gain quick, direct access to one-on-one counseling, step-by-step strategic guidance, legal advice, funding opportunities and more. Here's an insider's guide to four of the best startup resources:

1. SCORE : A nonprofit that provides free online and in-person mentoring via a national counseling force of 11,800 working and retired business owners and executives in nearly 400 chapters

2. Small Business Development Centers : An expansive network of some 1,100 branch offices, delivering counseling, training and technical assistance in all aspects of small-business management. "Every startup needs three things," says Kristin Johnson, director of the Northern California SBDC network. "A lawyer, an accountant and an SBDC advisor."

3. SBA : Via the web and district offices, the SBA offers an array of tools and resources to help new and aspiring business owners succeed.

4. U.S. Chamber Small Business Center : This arm of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce provides comprehensive startup assistance via web-based tools and resources.

Other Sites to See
  • Active Capital(ACE-Net): For startups looking to connect directly with accredited investors and vice versa, this site lets qualified entrepreneurs post investment opportunities and access a national database of potential funding sources. Training, counseling and mentoring are also available.

  • FastTrac: Educational programs for aspiring entrepreneurs, funded by the Kauffman Foundation and offered nationally via 300 alliance organizations

  • James J. Hill Reference Library: A private, nonprofit library with publicly accessible, business-oriented publications and information. Business information specialists offer free reference assistance and fee-based research services.

  • National Association of Small Business Investment Companies: Representing small VC firms, the organization offers a searchable online database of members, plus a guide to obtaining SBIC financing.

  • National Business Incubation Association: Offers a searchable database of national and international incubators, plus links to incubation associations and tips to help entrepreneurs find the right incubator

  • National Venture Capital Association: This large VC trade group offers a wealth of info on the VC world, including links to state, regional and special-interest VC organizations.