5 Best Support Groups for Small Business Owners
As a small business owner, feeling like you’re fighting for your business every day during pandemic-induced restrictions, a recession, and now potentially having your store destroyed and property stolen as a result of looting during the recent protests can be extremely isolating. Maybe none of the above is you but if you’re just starting a business and you feeling like you’re all alone in a tough uphill battle, it’s comforting to know that other entrepreneur groups are in the same fight—and on the same side as you. Small business owners are reaching out to one another to share their experiences as well as provide emotional support for one another, and here are our five of our favorite small business support groups you can join right now.
IFundWomen is the go-to marketplace for women-owned businesses and the people who want to fund them. If you’re a woman-in-business with big ideas, IFundWoman is here to make them happen, providing opportunities to raise capital, get coaching, make connections, fund startups, and give grants. They have an incredible opportunity going on right now in partnership with Visa for black women-owned small businesses, in which they will award 10 recipients with a $10k grant and a one-year IFundWomen coaching membership so that these business owners will be able to continue to offer their much-needed services to their local—and global—communities.
Small Business Associations
By connecting to other like-minded entrepreneurs, say if you’re in the restaurant industry or if you’re a woman-owned business, there are respective associations that you can join that will give you access to a wealth of small business knowledge to tap into when you need advice and support. On a more general level, while the U.S. Small Business Administration is a great place to apply to small business loans, they also offer a variety of business resources and advice, including access to their SCORE program, a completely free nationwide network of business mentors who volunteer to work with small business owners and help them develop and grow their business plans. On the local level, check out the chamber of commerce nearest you and, if you’re a minority business owner, the minority chamber of commerce, both of which offer a number of resources including workshops, networking, newsletters, and even connecting you with new customers.
I Am Black Business
This amazing platform directly connects consumers to black-owned businesses, but it also is a great platform for promoting your business if you’re a black business owner, as well as a place for you to connect to other black business owners. I Am Black Business was founded by three black men working in corporate America and looking for opportunities to serve their communities, specifically the black community. Their mission to empower, uplift, and educate black business owners on the power of technology, giving them a tool that will help them improve their business reach and profitability.
Many different cities that have been hit especially hard such as Boston, Chicago, and St. Paul, have been keeping running lists of the local small businesses in their communities that have been affected by vandalism and looting. Along with these lists, you’ll find links to crowdfunding resources and ways to connect with and donate to the affected businesses. If you’re a business owner, you can reach out to other businesses near you that are on your local list and see how you can help or be there for one another during these difficult times.
We’re here as a resource for the small business communities of Los Angeles and soon-to-be New York City for now, but we have plans to expand nationwide. We help clean up businesses, tell their important stories to the world, set up their GoFundMe pages, and then connect them with the services they need at the moment, whether it’s ways to help your GoFundMe page actually receive the funds you need or how to better get the word out to your community. By telling the powerful stories behind these small businesses who have been looted not only on their GoFundMe pages but also on our Instagram account, we want to connect local entrepreneurs going through similar dark days, so that they can crawl out of the hole together and thrive in their communities once again.
Author: Ally Spiroff
Ally Spiroff is the Public Relations Manager at Hawke Media and a freelance journalist for publications such as Runner’s World, Bicycling, Vice, Fitt, and others.