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Government Help For Growing a Homebased Business, Part 2

SBA's little-known programs are uncovered for your business's benefit.

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Here are some more programs that may help you out:

Women can find a wealth of information at http://www.sbaonline.sba.gov/womeninbusiness/wnet.html. Did you know the SBA can help you find a mentor? Through its Women's Network for Entrepreneurial Training, the Office of Women's Business Ownership hooks entrepreneurs up with mentors. The program targets women who have owned a business for at least one year and are ready to grow. To qualify, you must demonstrate strong entrepreneurial skills and show potential for continued success-plus you have to be willing to spend an average of four hours per month with a mentor for one year and apply the advice received.

If you've got a problem with a local, state or federal government policy you feel is hurting your business and others in your industry, a regional advocate of the SBA Office of Advocacy may be just the person to contact. Regional advocates monitor the impact of local, state and federal regulations and policies on local business communities, and work with federal and state officials to create business-friendly environments. A list of these 10 advocates can be found at http://www.sbaonline.sba.gov.

The Office of Business Initiatives Web page tests your entrepreneurial knowledge with its Success Quiz. If you want to find a Service Corps of Retired Executives office, a business information center or a one-stop capital shop, this is the place to go. This page also happens to be another way to get to the Resource Directory for Small Business Management. While you're on this page, check out the segment that explains how e-commerce enhances your business. This includes an introduction to Electronic Data Interchange plus an explanation of what it takes to get your computer system up to snuff. The Business Initiatives page also offers information on various scams targeting small-business owners.

See our tip on Friday, October 13 for part 1 of this article.