Small business help: 10 resources for entrepreneurs

As a small business owner or aspiring entrepreneur, it's crucial to stay informed and up-to-date with the latest industry insights and resources. To aid you in your journey, we've compiled a list of our top 10 picks for small business help, covering a range of topics from loans to legal incorporation.
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February 15, 2023
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Introduction

As a small business owner or aspiring entrepreneur, it's crucial to stay informed and up-to-date with the latest industry insights and resources. To aid you in your journey, we've compiled a list of our top 10 picks for small business help, covering a range of topics from loans to legal incorporation.

1. Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs) - United States

Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs) are nonprofit organizations that provide free and confidential business advice to entrepreneurs and small businesses based in the United States. SBDCs are funded by the Small Business Administration (SBA) and are run in partnership with universities, colleges, and community-based organizations, providing a local connection to resources and expertise.

In addition to helping you develop your business plan or analyze financial statements, SBDCs provide counseling and training to small businesses owners and and pre-venture entrepreneurs. They can also connect you with other services like networking events or mentoring programs to help overcome challenges, capitalize on opportunities, and achieve success. Contact your local SBDC for more information about its offerings.

2. Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) - Canada

Business Development Canada (BDC) is a financial institution that provides financing, capital and consulting services to Canadian entrepreneurs. As the only bank exclusively dedicated to entrepreneurs, the BDC's goal is to support the development and growth of Canadian small and medium-sized businesses. 

The organization offers a range of financial products, including loans, venture capital, and equity financing, as well as a range of advisory services, such as strategic planning, market research, and business planning. The BDC works closely with entrepreneurs to understand their unique needs and develop customized financing and support solutions to help them achieve their business goals. By providing access to capital and expert advice, the BDC plays a vital role in supporting the growth and success of Canadian businesses.

3. Techstars

Techstars is a global startup accelerator and venture capital firm that helps entrepreneurs succeed. They provide support for small businesses and entrepreneurs through its various resources, such as accelerator programs, which offer mentorship, resources, and investment to accelerate business growth. 

Additionally, Techstars' community of entrepreneurs, investors, and mentors can offer advice and support. The organization also provides educational resources, such as webinars and online courses, to help entrepreneurs improve their skills and knowledge. Techstars can also provide funding for early-stage startups and connect entrepreneurs with investors for additional funding as well as hostsing events and workshops allowing entrepreneurs to share knowledge and network with others in the community. 

4. Google for Entrepreneurs

Google for Entrepreneurs provides resources for startups and small business owners. A global initiative launched by Google to support and connect entrepreneurs, startups, and communities around the world, Google for Entrepreneurs was created with the goal of using technology and Google's resources to help entrepreneurs bring their ideas to life and grow their businesses. 

Through its partnerships with co-working spaces, accelerators, and startup hubs, Google for Entrepreneurs provides entrepreneurs with access to resources, mentorship, and networking opportunities. The organization also hosts events such as Google Startup Weeks and Google Demo Days, which connect entrepreneurs with potential investors, customers, and mentors. Entrepreneurs can take advantage of Google's suite of tools, including Google Cloud, G Suite, and Google AdWords, to build and scale their businesses. Furthermore, through its investment arm, Google Ventures, Google for Entrepreneurs invests in startups and provides mentorship and support to help them grow.

Google for Entrepreneurs also collaborates with organizations and government agencies to create programs and initiatives that support entrepreneurship and innovation, particularly in underserved and underrepresented communities.

5. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce - United States

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is a non-profit and non-partisan business advocacy group that aims to promote the interests of businesses and industries in the United States. 

They provide a wide range of services to its members, including advocacy, networking opportunities, and access to resources and information. In addition to its member services, the US Chamber also provides a variety of resources and tools to support businesses, including publications, research reports, and online training programs. They also have a small business resource center, which includes information on topics like taxes and regulations for small businesses, as well as links to government resources for entrepreneurs.

If you're looking for help starting or running your own company, consider contacting your local chamber of commerce; these organizations are often able to connect entrepreneurs with mentors and other resources in their area (which could include local banks).

6. HubSpot

HubSpot is a marketing automation platform that helps businesses of all sizes, from small startups to large enterprises, manage their marketing, sales, and customer service. It also offers its customers several free tools to help them grow their business including an email newsletter builder and blog editor.

In addition to its core platform, HubSpot offers a range of integrations with other tools and systems, including CRM, e-commerce platforms, and analytics tools. This enables businesses to seamlessly connect and integrate their marketing, sales, and customer service efforts, creating a more cohesive and effective customer experience.

HubSpot’s for Startups Partner Program is a dedicated program for startups that provides access to HubSpot's platform, tools, and resources at a discounted price. The program is designed to help startups grow their businesses by providing access to HubSpot's features as well as a range of resources and support to help them get the most out of the platform. With its discounted pricing, dedicated support, marketing resources, and networking opportunities, the program can help startups grow their businesses and succeed in today's competitive market.

7. LegalZoom - United States

LegalZoom is an online legal document preparation service that provides a range of legal services and resources to individuals and small businesses in the United States.

LegalZoom's services are designed to provide individuals and small businesses with affordable and convenient access to legal information and document preparation services. The company offers a range of services, including the preparation of legal documents, such as wills, trademarks, and incorporation documents, as well as access to a network of independent attorneys for legal advice and representation.

The platform also provides educational resources and tools, such as articles and guides, to help users better understand the legal processes and requirements associated with their services.

8. Ownr - Canada

Ownr is a Canadian fintech company that provides an online platform for entrepreneurs and small business owners to start and grow their businesses. Ownr's platform provides a range of services, including the creation of a business name and registration, obtaining business licenses and permits, and setting up a business bank account. 

The platform also provides access to resources, such as business guides and templates, to help entrepreneurs and small business owners grow their businesses.

Ownr is a great option for Canadian entrepreneurs and small business owners looking for an affordable and convenient platform to get started and succeed in today's competitive market.

9. QuickBooks or Xero

There are several accounting software options for small businesses. QuickBooks and Xero are two of the most popular and are widely used by small businesses as they both offer a range of features and tools to help businesses manage their finances. 

QuickBooks and Xero are both cloud-based, affordable and easy to use. They also have mobile apps that allow you to work on your finances from anywhere in the world.

The main difference between the two is that Xero is a general accounting software, while QuickBooks is specifically designed for small businesses. The choice between the two will largely depend on the specific needs and preferences of your business. Both platforms offer free trials, so small businesses can try both and see which one works best for them.

10. Work-Based Learning Programs

Work-based learning programs, such as in-class projects, internships, apprenticeships and co-op programs, can provide significant value for entrepreneurs and small business owners. 

These types of programs, facilitated by the Riipen work-based learning platform for example, provide small businesses and entrepreneurs with cost-effective access to a pool of talented learners who can bring fresh perspectives and new ideas to their projects. These learners can also be a valuable source of manpower for small businesses and entrepreneurs who may not have the resources to hire full-time employees.

"I have worked on several projects through Riipen and even got my first intern through the service,” said Erin Gallagher, Director of Marketing at APC Packaging, located in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.  “My last company and my current company have both benefited from the research and findings from these market and competitor research projects. I would highly recommend it to other businesses."

Work-based learning programs also provide small businesses and entrepreneurs with an opportunity to network with learners and build relationships with future talent as well as access new technologies and software that they may not have had exposure to otherwise.

For small businesses and entrepreneurs based in Canada in need of an intern for a short-term and clearly defined project, consider the Riipen Level UP program, which pays students a $1,400 CAD stipend per 80-hour (2-8 week long) remote internship. 

Conclusion

Starting and running a small business can be challenging but there are several resources available for small business owners and entrepreneurs to help them succeed in their ventures. The ten resources outlined above offer a wide range in terms of support, including access to capital, mentorship, networking opportunities, training and educational programs, and marketing and sales tools. By taking advantage of these resources, small business owners can get the support they need to overcome challenges, capitalize on opportunities, and achieve success in their respective industries.

Whether you’re a startup, a solopreneur with ambitious plans, or a small business owner with a desire for growth, sign in or create your free Riipen employer account and access student talent from 430+ universities and colleges in Canada, US, UK, and Australia.

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About the author:

Jennifer Lussier is a bilingual Content Marketing Specialist based in Montreal, QC. With a multidisciplinary background and a desire to accomplish more for the betterment of society, she joined Riipen in 2019 as an Academic Account Manager and has since migrated to the marketing team as it is more closely aligned with her interests and expertise.

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