States Step up with Small-Business Assistance

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small-biz-help.jpgWhile some small-business owners continue to groan over the slowness of federal movement to aid them, many states are stepping up with their own assistance programs. Some of the aid is trickling down from the federal stimulus bill, some comes from state and local agencies, while some funds seem to be flowing from nonprofits and other organizations.

If you're looking for financial assistance for your business, it's time to investigate the options closer to home--you may be surprised at how much help is out there.

For instance, North Carolina Governor Bev Purdue announced a statewide small-business initiative, Biz Boost, last week. Already successfully piloted in Charlotte, the program gives small businesses access to experts who can help with financial issues such as applying for credit, cash-flow management and cost reduction.
In Connecticut, Gov. Jodi Rell announced $250,000 in available grants for small manufacturers in her states. For its part, Massachusetts took over a privately administered small-business insurance program and slashed the fees, projecting the move would save $300 per employee for businesses in the program.

Some aid is more local. In Miami, the Miami-Dade Community Action Agency announced available $5,000 micro-enterprise grants for businesses within a 13-county area. In Staunton, Va., the Staunton Creative Community Fund announced $500,000 in available small-business loan funds.

Many more assistance plans are working their way through state legislatures now. What's your state doing to help small business? If new help is being contemplated, maybe it's a good time to get on the horn to your legislator and let them know how important it is to keep small businesses in your state growing.

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