Starting and running a small business is no small task. The amount of work involved along with the emotional and financial demands can feel daunting. Fortunately, there are plenty of resources out there to help people achieve their dreams of starting their own business. Here are a few resources for current or future small businesses owners in Southern Arizona.
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Education and Support
We’re putting the Arizona SBA at the very top because it offers one the most comprehensive collection of resources and lists for small business owners including everything from SBA lender lists, to articles on writing a business plan. For someone just beginning to gather useful information and tools, this is an essential place to start.
A branch of the Arizona Commerce Authority, Small Business Services (SBS) provides information on business licensing and statewide resources for every stage of business development. They offer a small to medium size business checklist as well as a list of required paperwork to establish your small business. They also offer webinars and workshops on everything from taxes to influencer marketing.
The AZSBDC Network works to help launch, grow and sustain small businesses in Arizona. The Network consists of two teams – the Arizona Small Business Development Center Network (AZSBDC), which provide tools, training and one-on-one business counseling, and the Arizona Procurement Technical Assistance Centers (PTAC), which help businesses seeking federal, state and local contracting opportunities.
Access business directories and planning tools, browse upcoming business workshops, check out specific books recommended for small businesses, and more with Pima County Library’s broad collection of resources. Sign up for the newsletter to get monthly updates about upcoming workshops and new tools that become available.
SCORE offers a robust mentorship program to small business owners at any stage of development. They also have a variety of low to no-cost workshops, and a library of article and information, including free templates for various topics such as financial projections and business planning.
SEED SPOT is a 501c3 nonprofit that supports entrepreneurs through workshops, mentorships, and consultation to help people in any stage of their business succeed.
Startup Tucson happens to help businesses at any scale, but many of those are on the smaller side. They can help give access to mentorship, networking, recognition, tools, and grants that can help individuals scale their dreams.
BDFC is another nonprofit corporation that specializes in SBA lending for small businesses. Since 1979 BDFC has financed more than $1 billion in projects across Arizona.
CIC is a trusted, local non-profit offering loans in amounts spanning from $500 all the way up to $100,000. Additionally, they open applications at least once a year to BIPOC businesses at any stage of growth for interest-free loans.
DreamSpring is an award-winning nonprofit that increases access to credit, and offers small business loans from $1000 to $250,000 with a fixed interest rate. In addition to general small business loans, they also offer a variety of other specialized loans depending on the industry.
Growth Partners Arizona offers loans to both nonprofits and small businesses with particular intention toward lending to underserved individuals and teams who don’t have access to traditional funding avenues. Additionally, they offer a unique crowdsourcing option through it’s program, Kiva.
Note: GPA only offers loans to businesses that have been established for at least two tax-filing periods.
Support for Women-Owned Businesses
Boss Women Unite offers women an opportunity to showcase and advertise their business to the community through vendor opportunities at community events, pop-ups, or a kiosk space in the Tucson Mall. It also offers an opportunity to connect and network with other business-minded women in a safe, non judgemental atmosphere.
A component of YWCA, the Womens Business Center offers business classes and technical training, free one-on-one business counseling and can help businesses find access to capital.
For small businesses in need of legal advice or aid, Legal Aid of Arizona is an invaluable resource for low-cost or pro-bono support.
The Intellectual Property and Entrepreneurship Clinic (IP Clinic) is a student-based legal clinic that counsels individuals, startups, and ongoing businesses on securing and maintaining their IP rights, including rights in patents, trade secrets, trademarks and copyrights. It also advises on select legal issues, including entity formation and structure as well as basic contractual matters.