Free Help For Your Retirement Biz
Looking for free advice and assistance with launching, growing and managing a business in retirement?
Well, I’ve got good news for you. This summer, AARP and the Small Business Administration (SBA) are teaming up to host a series of informational workshops for Encore Entrepreneurs.
It’s a timely move since lots of people over 50 are opting to go down this road. (And if you’re not sure if you’re cut out for entrepreneurship, take a look at this post written by my colleague Jeff Williams Working After 50: 10 Reasons Why You Want to Be Your Own Boss).
I was so delighted to hear about this initiative that I decided to sit in on one of the workshops last week. I think you’ll be as impressed as I was by the quality and diversity of free help that is out there.
Here is just a sampling of the resources discussed:
SBA: The Small Business Administration offers a goldmine of resources for both new and seasoned entrepreneurs including loans, free counseling, advice on writing a business plan, information on applying for government contracts and many other topics. If you go to their website, you’ll find a number of helpful online classes and tools, as well as links to other entrepreneurial resources. Of special note, an online course designed especially for encore entrepreneurs over 50.
The SBA also offers a number of programs designed specifically to meet the needs of underserved communities including SBA’s Office of Women’s Business Ownership (nationwide network of over 100 Women’s Business Centers), the Office of Veterans Business Development which oversees a number of special initiatives targeting veterans and a national Boots to Business initiative for service members transitioning “from service to start-up.”
SCORE: How’d you like the chance to brainstorm your business ideas with a seasoned entrepreneur? You can. SCORE boasts a national network of more than 11,000 entrepreneurs, business leaders and executives who volunteer as mentors and coaches who can help you build your business, for free.
They also offer over 10,000 business educational workshops covering all types of business topics including fundamentals of crafting a business plan, social media, managing cash flow and running a nonprofit business.
SCORE has more than 350 chapters and 800 locations throughout the country. For more information, go to the SCORE site or call 800-634-0245.
Local initiatives: Finally, be aware that in addition to these national entrepreneurial resources, many towns offer free resources and workshops. For example, I live in Southern CT where entrepreneurs can find help at the Women’s Business Development Council. In nearby Westchester County, NY there are classes, counseling and other resources offered by the Women’s Enterprise Development Center (WEDC). So be sure to do a Google search to locate helpful resources in your local area as well.