8 Resources for Minority-Owned Businesses in PA

 As we celebrate Black History Month, we’ve compiled a list of the top go-to resources for minority-owned businesses in the commonwealth. Whether it’s becoming certified as a small diverse business, applying for funding, finding business mentors, or contracting with government agencies, Pennsylvania can help minority-owned businesses build a bright future for themselves and their families, ensure their neighborhoods are vibrant places to live and work, and contribute to our flourishing economy.

1. Pennsylvania Business One-Stop Shop

The Pennsylvania Business One-Stop Shop is the first stop for many individuals seeking information about how to turn their entrepreneurial ideas into a new business. The experts at Pennsylvania Business One-Stop Shop provide customized assistance to aspiring entrepreneurs and existing small businesses and offer access to a vast toolbox of services and resources, including those focused on small diverse businesses.

2. Pennsylvania Small Business Development Centers (SBDC)

The Pennsylvania SBDC network is the only statewide, nationally-accredited program that provides high-quality one-on-one consulting, training, and information resources to empower new and existing businesses — including resources specifically for minority-owned businesses. The SBDC partners with the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), DCED, and 18 universities and colleges across the state to provide budding entrepreneurs and small business owners the tools they need to thrive. The SBA’s Minority-Owned Businesses page also offers resources for funding programs, training, and federal contracting opportunities for current or budding minority entrepreneurs.

3. Small Diverse Business Certification & Procurement Opportunities

To be eligible for the various programs and resources available to small diverse businesses, you must first be registered and legally operating within Pennsylvania and be verified as a small diverse business. Eligible small businesses must hold certifications as diverse businesses with one of the Pennsylvania Department of General Services’ approved third-party certification entities. Visit the Pennsylvania Department of General Services website to view a full list of third-party certifiers and learn more about becoming a certified small diverse business. For more general information on becoming a supplier or vendor for state government, visit our Government Contracting page.

4. Small Disadvantaged Business Status

In addition to small diverse business certification in Pennsylvania, you might want to explore the federal resources available to small disadvantaged businesses. Qualifying businesses that meet the federal standards for small disadvantaged businesses through the Small Business Administration (SBA) have access to a suite of additional federal programs and assistance. To learn more about acquiring this classification for your business, visit SBA’s website.

5. Pennsylvania Minority Business Development Authority (PMBDA)

The Pennsylvania Minority Business Development Authority (PMBDA) is a low-interest loan program designed to stimulate the creation, retention and expansion of minority-owned businesses and create jobs in Pennsylvania. Eligible applicants are for-profit business enterprises owned and controlled by one or more socially or economically disadvantaged persons who are residents of the Commonwealth.

6. Small Diverse Business Capital Access Program (SDBCA)

The Small Diverse Business Capital Access Program is administered by the Pennsylvania Industrial Development Authority (PIDA) and provides low-interest loans and lines of credit to small diverse businesses that commit to creating and retaining full-time jobs within the commonwealth. Loan applications are packaged and underwritten by a network of certified economic development organizations (CEDOs) that partner with PIDA to administer the program.

For information on additional funding programs, visit DCED’s Programs page.

7. Entrepreneur’s Guide

The Entrepreneur’s Guide is a free publication that guides a small business owner through the process of starting and growing a business in Pennsylvania that includes expert information about writing a business plan, registering a business, receiving funding, and more. View it online or download your copy at the DCED website.

8. Minority Business Development Agency Business Center of Pennsylvania (MBC-PA)

An agency of the United States Department of Commerce, the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) promotes the growth and global competitiveness of minority-owned-and-operated businesses while focusing on job creation for minority business entrepreneurs. MBDA’s team of business advisors offers capital and financial management access, business consulting, contract and market access, and global business development services.

To learn more about the funding programs and resources available to small businesses, visit our PA small business website, follow our social channels (TwitterFacebook, and LinkedIn,) and sign up for our monthly e-newsletter for additional #PASmallBiz tips.

To learn more about minority entrepreneur benefits and services, visit the PA Department of State’s Diverse Business page, the Small Business Association’s online business guide, and the Pennsylvania Business One-Stop Shop’s Grow section.