Have you ever asked yourself if you’re an entrepreneur, a small or micro business owner, a start-up founder, or all of the above? Regardless of what title you prefer, there are global and local resources for anyone who owns their own business.
Accelerators & Incubators
Harvard Business Review states, “Startup accelerators support early-stage, growth-driven companies through education, mentorship, and financing.” According to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, ” A startup incubator is a collaborative program for startup companies — usually physically located in one central workspace — designed to help startups in their infancy succeed by providing workspace, seed funding, mentoring and training.” These terms are often used interchangeably but the notable difference is that accelerators are typically for companies who are looking to scale while incubators are for innovators who may need more guidance on a business plan and creating a viable business. Y Combinator, Tech Stars, and 500 Startups are three well-known accelerators.
TIP | Philly Mag published this list of accelerators and incubators which includes several local Philadelphia programs.
Small Business Association (SBA)
The U.S. SBA provides everything from loans to business counseling for small businesses and entrepreneurs at every business stage. They also provide certifications needed for government contract opportunities as well as guidelines and templates for creating business plans. SCORE which is a resource of the SBA connects business owners with mentors.
TIP | Look for local Small Business Development Centers (SBDC) for training events and additional resources. In Pennsylvania? Visit the PA SBDC site.
Workshops & Networking Events
Various companies and organizations provide educational and networking opportunities. Read more about why attending events is important in this blog post. Traditional tradeshows and conventions can be good options. However, there are other options. Potential vendors are a great resource for webinars – keeping in mind that you will likely be solicited for business after signing up for their events. Don’t forget to track “live” schedules on Facebook and Instagram from individuals that you follow.
TIP | For free programming for innovators and entrepreneurs, check out any of the global Venture Cafe locations. Venture Cafe Philadelphia hosts weekly Thursday Gatherings.
While many of you may still be working remotely (and will continue to do so for some time), co-working spaces are also valuable resources. Whether you need a professional space to host a client meeting or if you just need physical space beyond your home, there are many different options with different models that can support your needs. All of the options most likely have changed in our current environment, so it is worth revisiting your choices now. You can also even get shared lab spaces from companies like BioLabs. Or a unique space in our hometown of Philly is REC Philly which is a shared space for creators and creative entrepreneurs. Local libraries, like the Business Resource and Innovation Center at the Free Library of Philadelphia, offer free small business support including desk space and private meeting rooms. Innovation centers, such as Quorum in Philadelphia, may also offer free drop-in or public lounge space you can use. Beyond the desk or office, co-working spaces can provide inspiration from spontaneous water cooler conversations or curated programming.
TIP | If you’re still working from home but crave community, look for co-working spaces that offer creative options such as the Indy Hall at Home membership. The founder of Indy Hall also produces events for freelancers.