National Small Business Week - Resources To Help You Celebrate
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.It's been a rocky couple of years for many small business owners...but National Small Business Week is coming up next week nonetheless. Many may not be in a mood to celebrate, but the week does at least offer entrepreneurs a few interesting events and resources. A few resources business owners might find useful:
Webcast and local events: If you can't get to the Mandarin Oriental to hear the CEO of Zipcar and other cool speakers, the whole shebang is going to be Webcast. Also, state SBA offices are putting on their own local events in conjunction with NSBW from here through early June.
The SBA's Small Business Training Network: Did you know the Small Business Administration has an one-stop clearinghouse for its online courses? Well, now you do. So your excuse just disappeared for not knowing how to balance your books, market your business, create a business plan or land a government contract.
SCORE, SBDCs, WBDCs and USEACs: If you don't know what these acronyms mean, you may be missing out on some great sources of free advice for growing your business. SBA's Service Corps of Retired Executives and SBA staff have expertise in startups, export and woman-owned businesses, among other areas. Some of this advice, you don't even have to shlep to an SBA office for anymore -- I just discovered SCORE has an online mentoring service now too.
Top lenders: Among the many awards handed out in connection with National Small Business week are awards for the top lenders in various categories. Check out this year's winners next week for a sense of who's still making small-business loans. Last year's winners included 7(a) lender BBVA Compass Bank, Ameritrust Certified Development Company for 504 loans, and export lenders JP Morgan Chase and World Trade Finance. Top lender of commercial mortgages was Zions First National Bank.
State winners contest: Here's this year's list of state business of the year winners. This contest is pretty high-profile -- could be worth the exposure to get involved and enter next year. I can tell you as a reporter, I do sometimes troll lists like these looking for interesting business stories. There are also both state and local small business person of the year awards, too.