8 Resources for Minority-Owned Businesses in PA
Pennsylvania offers many resources for minority-owned businesses to help them, along with all Pennsylvania businesses, build a bright future for themselves, their families, and their communities. As part of our recognition of Black History Month, we’ve compiled a list of the go-to resources available to minority business owners across the commonwealth. Whether it’s helping them become certified as a small diverse business, apply for funding, find business mentors, or contract with government agencies, Pennsylvania is committed to helping minority business owners succeed and play an ever-increasing role in our economy’s growth.
1. Pennsylvania Business One-Stop Shop
The Pennsylvania Business One-Stop Shop is the first stop for many individuals seeking information about how to turn their entrepreneurial ideas into a new business. The experts at Pennsylvania Business One-Stop Shop provide customized assistance to aspiring entrepreneurs and existing small businesses and offer access to a vast toolbox of services and resources, including those focused on small diverse businesses.
2. Entrepreneur’s Guide
The Entrepreneur’s Guide is a free publication that guides a small business owner through the process of starting and growing a business in Pennsylvania that includes expert information about writing a business plan, registering a business, receiving funding, and more. View it online or download your copy on the PA Business One-Stop Shop website.
3. Pennsylvania Minority Business Development Authority (PMBDA)
The Pennsylvania Minority Business Development Authority (PMBDA) is a low-interest loan program designed to stimulate the creation, retention and expansion of minority-owned businesses and create jobs in Pennsylvania. Eligible applicants are for-profit business enterprises owned and controlled by one or more socially or economically disadvantaged persons who are residents of the Commonwealth.
4. Small Diverse Business Capital Access Program (SDBCA)
The Small Diverse Business Capital Access Program is administered by the Pennsylvania Industrial Development Authority (PIDA) and provides low-interest loans and lines of credit to small diverse businesses that commit to creating and retaining full-time jobs within the commonwealth. Loan applications are packaged and underwritten by a network of certified economic development organizations (CEDOs) that partner with PIDA to administer the program.
For information on additional funding programs, visit DCED’s Programs page.
5. Pennsylvania Small Business Development Centers (SBDC)
The Pennsylvania SBDC network is the only statewide, nationally-accredited program that provides high-quality one-on-one consulting, training, and information resources to empower new and existing businesses — including resources specifically for minority-owned businesses. The SBDC partners with the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), DCED, and 18 universities and colleges across the state to provide budding entrepreneurs and small business owners the tools they need to thrive. The SBA’s Minority-Owned Businesses page also offers resources for funding programs, training, and federal contracting opportunities for current or budding minority entrepreneurs.
6. Small Diverse Business Certification & Procurement Opportunities
To be eligible for the various programs and resources available to small diverse businesses, you must first be registered and legally operating within Pennsylvania and be verified as a small diverse business. Eligible small businesses must hold certifications as diverse businesses with one of the Pennsylvania Department of General Services’ approved third-party certification entities. Visit the Pennsylvania Department of General Services website to view a full list of third-party certifiers and learn more about becoming a certified small diverse business. For more general information on becoming a supplier or vendor for state government, visit our Government Contracting page.
7. Small Disadvantaged Business Status
In addition to small diverse business certification in Pennsylvania, you might want to explore the federal resources available to small disadvantaged businesses. Qualifying businesses that meet the federal standards for small disadvantaged businesses through the Small Business Administration (SBA) have access to a suite of additional federal programs and assistance. To learn more about acquiring this classification for your business, visit SBA’s website.
8. Minority Business Development Agency Business Center of Pennsylvania (MBC-PA)
An agency of the United States Department of Commerce, the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) promotes the growth and global competitiveness of minority-owned-and-operated businesses while focusing on job creation for minority business entrepreneurs. MBDA’s team of business advisors offers capital and financial management access, business consulting, contract and market access, and global business development services.
To learn more about minority entrepreneur benefits and services, visit the PA Department of General Services’ Diverse Business page, the Small Business Association’s 8(a) program page, and the Pennsylvania Business One-Stop Shop’s Grow section.
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Michael is the Director of the Business One-Stop Shop in DCED. His passion to serve others is reflected in Business One-Stop Shop’s mission which is to provide “customer-focused” service to new and growing businesses in PA. Prior to DCED, Michael served the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue in addition to his years of experience working in various customer service fields.