Presented by Mary Ann Berglund
Rondo’s Small Business Resource Center is geared towards the small business owner or micro-entrepreneur, defined by the Small Business Administration (SBA) as:
- Independently owned and operated
- For profit
- Not dominant in its field
- 5 or fewer employees
Funding a small business - Are there grants?
According to Mary Ann, grants for businesses are very hard to come by, and may be very specifically targeted. Loans are much more common.
The SBA has a section on their website devoted to Loans & Grants. This includes a section on government grants and a Search for Business Loans, Grants and Financing tool where you enter your information and they tell you what you’re eligible for. They also present loan seminars, but you need to go to a SBA district office. Ours is in Minneapolis.
The Neighborhood Development Center (NDC) and WomenVenture are also sources of loans, up to $35,000.
Classes and other expert help
The Resource Center hosts a lot of classes and presentations at Rondo. Many are through the Neighborhood Development Center (NDC), with whom they partner. This includes a 16 week entrepreneur class. To get into the class you need to interview, and there is a fee based on a sliding scale; at least $75.00. It consists of 8 classes and 8 one-on-one sessions. The NDC is also available for consulting, for instance on finances and marketing. They have interns at Rondo, and possibly other locations that entrepreneurs can come in and see for help.
SCORE offers one-on-one help free, even if their help would otherwise cost a lot of money. They do insist on a business plan.
Suggestions for small business materials for your collection
- A Guide to Starting a Business in Minnesota New ed. every year from the Minnesota Dept. of Employment and Economic Development (DEED). Available electronically or in print through SPPL's catalog
- Legal forms for small business
- Materials on how to start a business in general, how to start a specific type of business, and home-based businesses
- Materials on financing a business
- Materials on business plans, basic accounting, marketing, and social networking for businesses
Referrals and Resources
- SPPL Event Calendar listing of entrepreneurial workshops and classes
- Neighborhood Development Center (NDC)
- SCORE – Bills itself as “Counselors to America’s Small Business”
- NDC intern at Rondo
- NDC intern at Lutheran Social Services, Eastside Financial Services, 965 Payne Ave, St. Paul (tentative Fall 2011)
- WomenVenture - Provides “one-on-one consulting, access to capital, and a variety of classes and workshops to help you build and grow your own business.”
- Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED)
- James J. Hill Business Reference Library
- District Councils – The districts are basically St. Paul neighborhoods and the councils are their planning and administrative bodies
- Local community development organizations
- Aurora St. Anthony Development Corporation (ASANDC)
- East Side Neighborhood Development Company (ESNDC)
- Greater Frogtown Community Development Corporation
- North East Neighborhoods Development Corporation
- Riverview Economic Development Association (REDA)
- Selby Area Community Development Corporation
- Sparc (serves Hamline Midway, North End, South Como)
- Databases and Websites – These are resources linked to from the SPPL website
- North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) (good for use with ReferenceUSA)
- Circulating books, periodicals & DVDs
- Reference books including the Financial Ratio Benchmarks – how should the money be distributed in your business?
- Two dedicated business computers – One hour limit (Envisionware won’t let them extend the time)
- Business PlanPro (Rondo only) Takes you step-by-step through the process of building a business plan, and has sample business plans. You can’t save a business plan in progress on Rondo’s computers, but you can save it to a flash drive and open it up again w/Business PlanPro. Also at the J. J. Hill library.
- DemographicsNow (Rondo) Good for answering demographic question such as population, ethnic make-up of a neighborhood, etc.
- SRDS Media Solutions (Rondo only) – Marketing software