Answer: There are a number of resources on Cape Cod that are available to help you grow your business:
Small Business Administration – an independent federal agency, the SBA helps entrepreneurs start, and small business owners grow their businesses through field offices. Their local office is in Boston. However, SBA representatives are on the Cape regularly. The SBA works with private lenders and community development corporations to guarantee loans. (Coastal Community Capital was featured in a previous Tips as a resource for loan assistance.) They offer training programs and session to help small business compete for Federal contracts. www.sba.gov
SCORE is a nonprofit association that offers free and confidential business advice either online or face-to-face via a network of 43 volunteer Mentors on Cape Cod and the Islands. As an SBA partner, SCORE Mentors can help entrepreneurs vet their business ideas, write a business plan, finding funding or planning the expansion of an existing business. SCORE has an office in Hyannis and can be reached via phone (508)775-4884 or www.capecod.score.org.
Coastal Community Capital structures loans allowing for low-interest only payments during the offseason preserving cash to cover monthly expenses when cash flow is tight. Their project size for business growth loans for start-ups and existing businesses is $10,000-$500,000. Terms vary depending on the application of the capital borrowed. Coastal also offers real-estate equipment acquisition loans over $500,000 with a maximum participation of $1,500,000. Terms vary from 10-20 years with low-interest, long-term, fixed rate financing. Visit http://www.coastalcommunitycapital.org for more detailed information on how Coastal can assist in business growth.
Small Business Development Centers offer one-stop services to small business and entrepreneurs. The centers are a cooperative effort among the private sector, educational institutions and government. SBDC’s can help with feasibility studies and organization analysis. The MA SBDC offers to counsel at the Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce offices in Hyannis. http://www.msbdc.org/semass/aboutus.html
Women’s Business Centers -WBCs represent a national network of nearly 100 educational centers throughout the United States and its territories, which are designed to assist women in starting and growing small businesses. WBCs seek to “level the playing field” for women entrepreneurs, who still face unique obstacles in the business world. The district office is located at 10 Causeway Street Room 265, Boston, MA 02222, Phone: (617) 565-5590 – www.sba.gov/content/womens-business-centers
SBA’s Office of Women’s Business Ownership (OWBO) oversees the WBC network, which provides entrepreneurs (especially women who are economically or socially disadvantaged) comprehensive training and counseling on a variety of topics in several languages.