I was in Denver a couple of weeks ago at the annual convention of the Association of Small Business Development Centers, ASBDC, which links together about 1,000 local SBDCs (that’s Small Business Development Centers), most of which are an excellent resource for you and your startup.
The SBDCs are public sector centers funded by a mix of federal, state, and local education sources. They offer classes, counseling, and general support to small business and startups throughout the country. Generally, they are always up to date on local conditions, local license and permit requirements, local funding sources, and the nuts and bolts of getting a business up and running, keeping it up and running, and growing it.
I often refer to the SBDCs when answering email questions about details of starting up and small business management. I take questions for entrepreneur.com and Bplans.com. Often I just can’t answer a question responsibly because I don’t know the background, or the details of the specific local situation, which means I’ll probably recommend a call or visit to the SBDC. A lot of the startup issues we deal with depend on local laws and local regulations. Not everybody realizes that the details of permits, zoning, and licensing are almost always local. And specifics of corporations and LLCs vary by state.
The local SBDC will also be likely to have good information on local angel investors, Chambers of Commerce, and banks doing SBA lending programs.
The SBDC programs vary from state to state. Some states work with community colleges and some with state colleges and universities, and different states have different regulations on how the SBDCs operate and how they are funded. Some are better than others, but they are all good to know, and they all make a good stop for local startup knowledge.
You can find the address of your local SBDC and other local development assistance on the SBA website on its local resources page.