Small Business Assistance

The Small Business Assistance Network (SBAN) is the first stop for entrepreneurs interested in learning about the vast toolbox of business services and resources available within Pennsylvania.

Purpose

Provide entrepreneurs with the necessary resources to start and grow a small business in Pennsylvania.

The Entrepreneur’s Guide

Download PA’s comprehensive business resource guide to help you launch your business in Pennsylvania. Here you’ll find expert information regarding building a business plan, registration, funding advice, and more. Our e-guide is printer-friendly and eco-friendly!

How Can We Help You?

TECHNICAL & PLANNING ASSISTANCE
  • Our local and regional PREP partners have the experience and know-how to assist individuals who have an idea and need help with the basics of starting a new venture. PREP also meets the demands of existing companies that seek assistance in all aspects of successful business development and growth.
  • Reach out to your local SBDC to gain access to educational workshops and free, confidential consulting services. Offices are conveniently hosted at 18 universities and their 90 outreach centers located across Pennsylvania. Visit the PA SBDC website for more information at www.pasbdc.org.
  • Please contact your local SCORE office to schedule an appointment to speak with a mentor regarding business planning and strategizing. The service is free and confidential. Learn more about SCORE by visiting www.score.org.
  • Visit a local SBA office or one of its partner locations to access the federal government’s vast array of resources, services and programs focused on assisting the establishment of startups and the growth of established small businesses. Many of the resources, articles, and the information on programs can be found simply by visiting their website: www.sba.gov
REGISTRATION & LICENSING ASSISTANCE
  • Registration for businesses based in PA (domestic) may use PA Department of State’s online filing system, PENN File. Sole proprietorships and partnerships may file a fictitious name while entities may file as an LLC, Corporation, etc. Those with filing questions and businesses based outside of PA (foreign), should contact the Department of State: 717.787.1057.
  • Federal Employer Identification Number (EIN) registration can be completed online by visiting the IRS application page. There is no cost to register your EIN. Filing questions can be directed to the IRS's Business Tax Line: 1.800.829.4933.
  • Hiring a new employee? PA Department of Labor & Industry’s New Hire Reporting Program has you covered. Here, employers are provided with all the information needed to fully comply with Federal and State mandates to report their newly-hired employees. Visit Pennsylvania Career Link’s New Hire Reporting Program homepage. Further questions regarding hiring and employment can be directed to 1.888.724.4737 (1.888.PAHIRES).
  • PA Sales Tax ID and related tax accounts are filed with the PA Department of Revenue. This is not the same as a Federal Employer Identification Number (EIN). You may file your PA tax accounts online through the PA-100. If you are unsure as to whether or not your business is required to have a sales or other state tax ID, please contact the Department of Revenue for clarification: 717.787.1064.
  • Home Improvement Contract (HIC) Registration, or “PA #”, can be registered with the PA Attorney General’s Office via the HIC Registration page. Contractors with questions about filing requirements may contact the contractor helpline: 717.772.2425.
  • Special licensing and other registration questions can be directed to the Small Business Assistance Network: 1.800.280.3801.
PROGRAM & FUNDING ASSISTANCE
  • DCED offers loans, loan guarantees, tax credits, bonds, and grants. Grants to start a business are not available. Each program has a designated set of guidelines and eligibility requirements. Please read about the program’s eligibility requirements before applying. If you have questions regarding a specific program, you may use the contact information provided in the guidelines or contact the Small Business Assistance Network (1.800.280.3801). For more information, visit DCED’s list of programs.
  • Partnerships for Regional Economic Performance’s (PREP) regional representatives can help assist small businesses locate funding in their local communities.
  • While the Pennsylvania SBDC does not provide financing or loans, your local center will work with you to provide the best tools to finance your small business. When you’re ready, contact your local SBDC for more information.
  • The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) offers a variety of loan programs for very specific purposes. They also play other important roles in helping entrepreneurs finance or grow their business. The SBA website provides detailed information on what is needed to secure loans and financing.
DIVERSE SMALL BUSINESS ASSISTANCE
  • The description of a diverse business includes, but is not limited to: minority-owned, woman-owned, veteran-owned, disability-owned, and LGBT-owned businesses. The PA Department of General Services’ Bureau of Diversity, Inclusion & Small Business Opportunities (BDISBO) is responsible for assisting small diverse businesses interested in competing for Commonwealth contracting opportunities. To learn more or become a verified, self-certified small diverse business, please visit the BDISBO webpage or call the Bureau: 717.783.3119.
  • DCED offers programs including, Small Diverse Business Capital Access Program (SDBCA), Pennsylvania Minority Business Development Authority (PMBDA), and Business Opportunities Fund (BOF) to assist disadvantaged and diverse small businesses access financing.
  • For more information regarding services and resources offered to disadvantaged and diverse small businesses, contact the Small Business Assistance Network: 1.800.280.3801

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