At LegalShield, we celebrate entrepreneurs every week, but we’re particularly excited for Small Business Week 2022 from May 1-7. This year, the theme is Building a Better America through Entrepreneurship, in honor of the pivotal role small business owners have played in our economic recovery over the last few years.
The week’s central event is the Virtual Summit (May 2-5), hosted by the National Small Business Association (SBA), which offers networking opportunities, awards ceremonies, and seminars on vital services offered by the SBA.
Check out the highlights from the 2021 Virtual Summit.
1. Small Business Loans
Every small business owner, at one time or another, needs capital. You may want to grow your business, start a new one, or simply stay afloat—it’s been a rough couple of years, after all. However, banks and private equity investors are not always eager to lend. This is why the SBA helps with two different types of loans: guaranteed and direct. Here’s how each works:
Lender Match for Guaranteed Loans
Fill out the basics about your business online and you will be matched with lenders who are interested in offering you a small business loan. Compare rates, terms, and fees, then submit your application for that loan, which the SBA guarantees, by assuming the debt obligation should you default.
Disaster Assistance for Direct Loans
The SBA provides direct, low-interest loans to help businesses recover from FEMA declared disasters, like tornados, fires, or floods. These can be broken down into:
- Physical damage loans: Loans to cover repairs and replacement of equipment and other assets damaged in a declared disaster.
- Mitigation assistance: Funding to cover operating expenses after a declared disaster.
- Economic injury disaster loans: Help small businesses and nonprofit organizations that have suffered damage to their home or personal property.
- Military reservist loans: Provide compensation for employees on active-duty leave.
2. Small Business Grants
The SBA also awards targeted grants that serve the greater good. These are limited, but you could qualify for help with:
- COVID-19 relief programs, which provide financial assistance to businesses, nonprofits, and faith-based organizations.
- Exporting grants which provide financial awards to help export development.
- Small business grants that help small businesses engage in scientific research and development and provide management and technical assistance.
- Grants for community organizations, including those that support veteran-owned and service-disabled veteran-owned businesses.
3. Investment Capital
The quest for investment capital can be a long and winding road, especially when you also have a business to run. The SBA helps here, as well, with its Small Business Investment Company (SBIC) program, giving small businesses enhanced access to venture capital. To be eligible for an SBIC investment:
4. Getting Government Contracts
To fund business ventures, you must first have business opportunities, which haven’t been all that easy to come by in the post-pandemic world. Well, meet the largest customer in the world—the US government—which wants to buy products and services from entrepreneurs like you to:
- Ensure that large businesses don’t “muscle out” small businesses.
- Gain access to the new ideas that small businesses provide.
- Support small businesses as engines of economic development and job creation.
- Offer opportunities to disadvantaged socio-economic groups.
The SBA awards 23% of prime government contract dollars to eligible small businesses. To get started, first learn if your business meets the basic requirements.
5. Woman-Owned Small Business Federal Contracting Program
As small business owners, women still face gender bias that puts them at a disadvantage. To level the playing field, the government offers certain contracts to businesses that participate in the Women-Owned Small Business (WOSB) Federal Contracting Program. To see if you qualify, go to beta.certify.sba.gov.
6. Veteran Assistance Programs
The SBA also helps veterans, who often struggle to find viable business opportunities once they leave the service. If you are former military and want to qualify for federal contract dollars as an entrepreneur, start your Veteran-Owned Small Business verification through the VA CVE.
7. Helping Socially Disadvantaged Small Businesses
Our economy is strengthened by diversity. 10% of all federal contract dollars go to socially disadvantaged small businesses, owned by African Americans, Asian Pacific Americans, Hispanic Americans, Native Americans, and Subcontinent Asian Americans. You can register your business as a Small Disadvantaged Business if you meet the following criteria:
- The firm must be 51% or more owned and controlled by one or more disadvantaged persons.
- The firm must be small, according to SBA size standards.
Find the full qualification criteria in the Small Disadvantaged Business (SDB) Code issued by the SBA.
8. SBA Mentor-Protégé Program
Another disadvantage is simply a lack of experience. If you are new to the contract process, check out the SBA Mentor-Protégé program, which helps small businesses (protégés) win government contracts through partnerships with more experienced companies (mentors). Protégés can gain invaluable ‘biz dev’ help in other areas, too, including:
- Guidance on internal business management systems, accounting, marketing, manufacturing, and strategic planning.
- Financial assistance in the form of equity investments, loans, and bonding.
- International trade and export markets.
- Administrative help, like human resource sharing and security clearance support.
For more information, see the mentor and protégé qualification standards.
9. Export and Trade Assistance
If you haven’t yet started selling abroad, remember this: More than 95% of the world’s consumers are outside the U.S. The SBA helps American small businesses expand into export with:
- U.S. Export Assistance Centers – USEACs will teach you about the exporting process at centers across the country. Enter your zip code to find a center near you.
- Export Finance Managers – Speak directly with a small exporter business in your region.
10. Small Business Legal Assistance
If all of this and running your business weren’t enough to think about, there are also critical legal considerations at every turn. LegalShield is your resource here, providing truly affordable, expert legal help when you need it. We are your advocate, which is why we were ranked 2022’s No. 1 Online Legal Service by Investopedia.
A LegalShield plan frees our Small Business Members to focus on building their companies while we handle all the legal issues that come with being in business. Spend your time exploring resources like these for Small Business Week 2022. Let us deal with:
- Debt collection: Have an expert collections lawyer for your debt collection and represent you, if necessary, in small claims court.
- Document review: Your LegalShield provider lawyer will review all your contracts and agreements and create them, too.
- Employment law: An experienced employment lawyer will help you with workman’s comp, hiring and firing, and ADA Compliance.
- Business licenses: Your provider lawyer will identify and secure all the federal and state business licenses you need.
- COVID-19-related challenges: Get assistance with rapid hiring, independent contractor agreements, and ways to adjust consumer expectations.
- Intellectual property: Let an IP lawyer handle trademarks and copyrights.
- Civil litigation: Your provider law firm represents you in court for labor lawsuits, intellectual property infringement, employment litigation, breach of contract, bankruptcy, and dissolution.
- Plus, support other local businesses with your membership—your provider law firm is local to your community.
LegalShield offers different plans to fit your current needs and grow with you. As we said earlier, we celebrate entrepreneurs every week—by freeing them to focus on their dreams.
You do you. We’ve got you covered, legally.
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Frequently Asked Questions
When is Small Business Week?
Where is the Small Business Week celebration held?
Are the Virtual Summit dates the same as the Small Business Week 2022 dates?
No. The Virtual Summit runs May 2-5. Click here to register. The 2022 National Small Business Week runs May 1-7.
What is the SBA?
SBA.gov is the U.S. Small Business Administration, which was formed in 1953 to protect the interests of the small business owner. The SBA began National Small Business Week in 1963 to celebrate the American entrepreneur and showcase SBA resources.