521 Dirksen Senate Office Building
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North Carolina Small Business Resources Page
Welcome to my North Carolina Small Business Resources Page! During my time in the United States Senate, I have traveled all across the great state of North Carolina meeting with small business owners from Murphy to Manteo. And whether it's at a powerboat manufacturing business in Chocowinity, a food processing venture in Candler, or a small family farm in Kings Mountain, I am always impressed by the determination and ingenuity of North Carolina's small businesses owners.
Small businesses are the engine of the North Carolina economy, representing more than 98 percent of North Carolina's private sector employers and nearly half of our state's jobs. As a member of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, I am committed to creating a better climate for small businesses to create jobs and grow. For more information on the legislative work I am doing in the Senate to support our small businesses, please click here.
I believe we must provide opportunities for small businesses to compete for federal contracts, while targeting support to entrepreneurs from underrepresented communities looking to start and grow new businesses. Below you will find a list of resources, contacts and information for North Carolinians who own a small business or are looking to start a small business.
And you should always feel free to reach out to my Economic Development Director Chris Sgro, who is an expert at helping North Carolina entrepreneurs identify opportunities to start or expand their small business. You can reach Chris by filling out this contact form or by calling 336-333-5311.
Thank you for visiting this page, and I hope you find the information helpful.
Resources for North Carolina Small Business Owners
- Financial Assistance
- Assistance to Grow Your Small Business
- Assistance with Regulatory, Health Care, Tax and Other Concerns
Loan Programs – In general, the federal government does not loan money directly to small business owners. But, the SBA still plays an important role for people who want to finance or grow their business. The SBA provides a guarantee on qualifying small business loans made by financial institutions across North Carolina. SBA does not make direct loans to small businesses. Rather, SBA sets the guidelines for loans, which are then made by its partners (lenders, community development organizations, and microlending institutions). The SBA guarantees that these loans will be repaid, thus eliminating some of the risk to the lending partners. So when a business applies for an SBA loan, it is actually applying for a commercial loan, structured according to SBA requirements with an SBA guaranty. SBA-guaranteed loans may not be made to a small business if the borrower has access to other financing with reasonable terms.
For more information about the SBA’s loan guarantee programs and how to apply, click below:
- SBA Loans Overview
- SBA 7(a) Loans – The 7(a) Loan Program includes financial help for businesses with special requirements. For example, funds are available for loans to businesses that handle exports to foreign countries, businesses that operate in rural areas, and for other very specific purposes.
- SBA Micro-Loans – The Microloan Program provides small, short-term loans to small business concerns and certain types of not-for-profit child-care centers. The SBA makes funds available to specially designated intermediary lenders, which are nonprofit community-based organizations with experience in lending as well as management and technical assistance. These intermediaries make loans to eligible borrowers. The maximum loan amount is $50,000, but the average microloan is about $13,000
- Microloans may be used for the following purposes:
- Working capital
- The purchase of inventory or supplies
- The purchase of furniture or fixtures
- The purchase of machinery or equipment.
Grant Programs – In addition to SBA’s lending programs, the federal government provides assistance to innovative small businesses interested in participating in federal research and development activities. The SBA’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Technology Transfer (STTR) programs are designed to assist pioneering small businesses pursue federal research opportunities. To learn more, click here.
Disaster Assistance – In the event of a disaster, such as the recent tornadoes that struck North Carolina, small business owners often have unique short- and long-term needs to rebuild their businesses. To assist these efforts, the SBA maintains special programs for businesses affected by natural disasters. SBA Disaster Recovery programs provide direct loans to small businesses to repair damaged assets and provide working capital during an otherwise difficult period. To learn more, click here.
Entrepreneurial Development – Many small business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs need assistance to get their business off the ground or expand their operations. To assist these small business owners, there are a number of entrepreneurial development programs in North Carolina, including:
- Small Business Center Network (SBCN) -- Comprised of 58 Small Business Centers throughout North Carolina at the state's community colleges, the SBCN supports the development of new businesses and the growth of existing businesses by being a community-based provider of training, counseling, and resource information. Services include counseling, training, resource centers and business alliances.
- North Carolina Small Business and Technology Development Center – The North Carolina Small Business and Technology Development Center (SBTDC) is the designated Small Business Development Center (SBDC) for the state of North Carolina.
- SBDCs are partnerships between the government and colleges/universities administered by the Small Business Administration that are designed to provide educational services for small business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs. SBDC services include, but are not limited to, assisting small businesses with financial, marketing, production, organization, engineering and technical problems, and feasibility studies.
- The SBTDC is housed at North Carolina State University, but has offices throughout the state to assist North Carolina small business owners. To find the office closest to you, click here.
- SCORE Small Business Advice and Counseling – The SBA’s SCORE Association “Counselors to America’s Small Business” is a nonprofit association comprised of 11,500 volunteer business counselors throughout the U.S. and its territories. SCORE members are trained to serve as counselors, advisors and mentors to aspiring entrepreneurs and business owners. These services are offered with no fees, as a community service.
- There are 12 SCORE chapters in North Carolina. To find the SCORE chapter nearest you, click here.
- SBA Office of Women's Business Ownership – Women's Business Centers (WBCs) represent a national network of nearly 100 educational centers designed to assist women start and grow small businesses. WBCs operate with the mission to "level the playing field" for women entrepreneurs, who still face unique obstacles in the world of business.
- Through the management and technical assistance provided by the WBCs, entrepreneurs -- especially economically disadvantaged women -- are offered comprehensive training and counseling on a vast array of topics in many languages to help them start and grow their own businesses.
- There are three WBCs in North Carolina. To find the WBC closest to you, click here.
- SBA Office of Veteran's Business Development – The mission of SBA’s Office of Veterans Business Development's is to maximize the availability, applicability and usability of all Administration small business programs for Veterans, Service-Disabled Veterans, Reserve Component Members, and their Dependents or Survivors.
- Key to this mission are Veteran’s Business Outreach Centers (VBOCs). VBOCs are designed to provide entrepreneurial development services such as business training, counseling and mentoring, and referrals for eligible veterans owning or considering starting a small business. The SBA has 16 organizations participating in this cooperative agreement and serving as Veterans Business Outreach Centers (VBOC).
- North Carolina’s VBOC is housed at Fayetteville State University. To learn more, click here.
Equity and Venture Capital
- SBA Guide to Equity Capital, Venture Capital and Angel Investors
- SBA New Markets Venture Capital Program
- SBA Information on Small Business Investment Companies
- SBA Office of Government Contracting
- SBA Contracting Basics
- SBA HUBZone Program
- Procurement Technical Assistance Centers
Regulations – Small businesses are subject to many of the same regulations as large corporations. However, the SBA works to ensure that these regulations do not disadvantage our nation's small businesses through the Office of Advocacy. The Office of Advocacy is an independent voice for small business within the federal government and advances the views and concerns of small business before Congress, the White House, the federal agencies, the federal courts and state policymakers. The SBA also offers a variety of programs to assist small businesses comply with regulations more easily.
Health Care – Under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, more than 120,000 North Carolina small businesses will be eligible for Small Business Health Care Tax Credits to help make health insurance coverage more affordable.
- To qualify for the small business tax credit, a business must: 1) have fewer than 25 employees; 2) pay an average annual wage below $50,000; and 3) pay at least 50% of an employee’s health insurance premium.
- Tax credits will be provided up to 35% of the employer’s eligible premium expenses for tax years 2010-2013. Beginning in tax year 2014, employers can receive a tax credit for up to 50% of the cost of the premiums.
- Check out the small business tax credit calculator here.
- Information for obtaining Small Business Health Care Tax Credit
Small businesses with up to 100 employees will also be able to participate in the Small Business Health Options Programs (SHOP) exchanges, beginning in 2014, and pool together for coverage.
Small businesses with fewer than 50 full-time equivalent employees are exempt from the employer shared responsibility requirements. Full-time employees are defined as those who work more than 30 hours or more; while part-time employees are those who work less than 30 hours per week based on a monthly average. For those businesses with more than 50 employees, the first 30 employees are not included in the shared responsibility assessment.
As originally written, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act would have affected small farmers who hire additional employees for brief periods of time. Senator Hagan successfully fought for a provision to exempt small family farms from the employer shared responsibility requirements. Under her amendment, employers with less than 50 employees who hire additional season workers fro 120 days or less in a year will not be subject to the penalty.
For more information on how the new health care law affects small businesses, click here.
More small business health care resources:
- HHS Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS)
- CMS: State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP)
- CMS Small Business Administration Ombudsman
Environmental Concerns and Energy Efficiency
Exporting and Trade