Small Business Assistance

The Small Business Assistance Network (SBAN) is the first stop for entrepreneurs interested in learning about the vast toolbox of business services and resources available within Pennsylvania.

Purpose

Provide entrepreneurs with the necessary resources to start and grow a small business in Pennsylvania.

The Entrepreneur’s Guide

Download PA’s comprehensive business resource guide to help you launch your business in Pennsylvania. Here you’ll find expert information regarding building a business plan, registration, funding advice, and more. Our e-guide is printer-friendly and eco-friendly!

How Can We Help You?

TECHNICAL & PLANNING ASSISTANCE
  • Our local and regional PREP partners have the experience and know-how to assist individuals who have an idea and need help with the basics of starting a new venture. PREP also meets the demands of existing companies that seek assistance in all aspects of successful business development and growth.
  • Reach out to your local SBDC to gain access to educational workshops and free, confidential consulting services. Offices are conveniently hosted at 18 universities and their 90 outreach centers located across Pennsylvania. Visit the PA SBDC website for more information at www.pasbdc.org.
  • Please contact your local SCORE office to schedule an appointment to speak with a mentor regarding business planning and strategizing. The service is free and confidential. Learn more about SCORE by visiting www.score.org.
  • Visit a local SBA office or one of its partner locations to access the federal government’s vast array of resources, services and programs focused on assisting the establishment of startups and the growth of established small businesses. Many of the resources, articles, and the information on programs can be found simply by visiting their website: www.sba.gov
REGISTRATION & LICENSING ASSISTANCE
  • Before registering any business accounts verify that the business name is available to use by searching the PA Department of State’s business name registration database.
  • Federal Employer Identification Number (EIN) Registration may be completed online by visiting the IRS application page. There is no cost to register your EIN. Filing questions can be directed to the IRS's Business Tax Line: 1.800.829.4933
  • Business Name and Structure Registration may be completed by using the PA Department of State’s online filing system, PENN File. Sole proprietorships and partnerships may register a fictitious name while other entities may register as an LLC, Corporation, etc. Other registrations and printable forms can also be obtained through PENN File under the ‘Forms’ tab. Those with filing questions should contact the PA Department of State: 717.787.1057.
  • PA Business Tax (including Sales Tax) and Employer Account Registrations are filed with the PA Department of Revenue and Department of Labor and Industry. You may register for your PA business tax accounts with both agencies online through the PA-100. This is not the same as applying for a Federal Employer Identification Number (EIN). If you are unable to determine if your business should charge sales tax for your product or service, please review the PA Department of Revenue’s Sales Tax Guide. Find answers to your other tax and employer account-related questions at the Department of Revenue website. If you are still unsure whether your business is required to have a sales or other state tax ID, please contact the Department of Revenue for clarification: 717.787.1064.
  • Employers/Payroll Providers must comply with Act 32 and Local Earned Income Tax withholding requirements, find out more at dced.pa.gov. The FAQ page highlights many of the questions and concerns employers/payroll providers have regarding local tax requirements. If you have additional questions, please contact the Governor’s Center for Local Government Services: 1.888.223.6837.
  • Employers/Payroll Providers with questions regarding their Unemployment Compensation (UC) Tax and account number should first check the PA Department of Labor & Industry’s Employer UC FAQ page. For further assistance, please contact the UC Employer Information Center: 1.866.403.6163.
  • Employers/Payroll Providers with questions regarding Workers’ Compensation (WC) compliance should visit the PA Department of Labor & Industry’s WC Compliance page. Additional compliance questions can be directed to the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation Compliance Section: 717.787.3567.
  • Employers/Payroll Providers must report all employees who reside or work in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to the PA Department of Labor & Industry. Visit Pennsylvania Career Link’s New Hire Reporting Program homepage for more information and instructions on reporting. Questions about your requirements as an employer can be directed to the PA New Hire staff: 1.888.724.4737.
  • Home Improvement Contract (HIC) Registration, or “PA #”, can register with the PA Attorney General’s Office via the HIC Registration page. Questions about registration requirements can be addressed by visiting the Contractor FAQ page or by contacting the contractor helpline: 717.772.2425.
  • Special Licensing and other registration questions can be directed to the Small Business Assistance Network: 1.800.280.3801.
  • Local Registration, permits, zoning requirements and related questions should be directed to the township, borough, or city where you will be operating.
PROGRAM & FUNDING ASSISTANCE
  • DCED offers loans, loan guarantees, tax credits, bonds, and grants. Grants to start a business are not available. Each program has a designated set of guidelines and eligibility requirements. Please read about the program’s eligibility requirements before applying. If you have questions regarding a specific program, you may use the contact information provided in the guidelines or contact the Small Business Assistance Network (1.800.280.3801). For more information, visit DCED’s list of programs.
  • Partnerships for Regional Economic Performance’s (PREP) regional representatives can help assist small businesses locate funding in their local communities.
  • While the Pennsylvania SBDC does not provide financing or loans, your local center will work with you to provide the best tools to finance your small business. When you’re ready, contact your local SBDC for more information.
  • The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) offers a variety of loan programs for very specific purposes. They also play other important roles in helping entrepreneurs finance or grow their business. The SBA website provides detailed information on what is needed to secure loans and financing.
SMALL DIVERSE BUSINESS ASSISTANCE
  • The description of a diverse business includes, but is not limited to: minority-owned, woman-owned, veteran-owned, disability-owned, and LGBT-owned businesses. The PA Department of General Services’ Bureau of Diversity, Inclusion & Small Business Opportunities (BDISBO) is responsible for assisting small diverse businesses interested in competing for Commonwealth contracting opportunities. To learn more or become a verified, self-certified small diverse business, please visit the BDISBO webpage or call the Bureau: 717.783.3119.
  • DCED offers programs including, Small Diverse Business Capital Access Program (SDBCA), Pennsylvania Minority Business Development Authority (PMBDA), and Business Opportunities Fund (BOF) to assist disadvantaged and diverse small businesses access financing.
  • For more information regarding services and resources offered to disadvantaged and diverse small businesses, contact the Small Business Assistance Network: 1.800.280.3801

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