Guide to Starting a Business
The United States Small Business Administration (SBA) provides the 10 key steps to starting a business, as well as insight on common mistakes to avoid.
Business Plan Templates & Lean Canvas
The SBA also provides a helpful guide to drafting your business plan.
Leanstack provides detailed guidance on the lean canvas model— a visual chart outlining the key elements of planning a business. Sections include business problem, solution, customer segments, value proposition, etc. The business canvas model may be utilized by startups along with businesses set for growth.
The Small Business Development Center (SBDC) is a valuable free resource for small business owners and entrepreneurs across the country. The Maryland SBDC offers free individualized consulting from trusted business advisors who have experience in starting and growing businesses.
Service Corp of Retired Executives (SCORE) is the nation’s largest network of volunteer, expert business mentors. SCORE volunteers are dedicated to helping small businesses get off the ground, grow and achieve their goals.
The Bowie Business Innovation Center (BIC) is a business accelerator and collaborative workspace where technology companies and government contractors are able to access the largest concentration of business scale-up resources in Prince George’s County.
Maryland Women’s Business Center (MWBC) works with women entrepreneurs to start, sustain, and grow their businesses. Through workshops, individual counseling, facilitated peer group support, special resources, and access to capital, MWBC helps women gain the skills, connections, and confidence necessary to navigate entrepreneurship. Men are also welcome at workshops and training sessions.
Prince George’s County Economic Development Innovation Station offers free coaching and business development services to Bowie State University students.
Sample Business Forms
Entrepreneur.com is loaded with business plan guidelines, checklists and templates. The site also offers an array of additional business forms including marketing and financial resources.
Marketing & Graphic Design
Mailchimp offers a free membership plan where you may upload business contacts, create newsletters and send personalized and bulk email message to clients.
Canva has a free version that has hundreds of flyer, posters, invitations, banner templates to support your marketing and advertising needs
Market Research, Demographics, & Industry Information
Survey Monkey has a free online portal to create customizable surveys. A paid membership is also available for detailed data analysis.
Bureau of Labor Statistics, a unit of the U.S. Department of Labor, provides statistical data on labor market and US economy.
IBIS World offers a market research summary of industries. The site offers a free basic “Industry Sector Snapshot.” A more extensive industry reports are available for a fee.
Unites States Census Bureau provides demographic data on U.S. population and economy.
Office of Entrepreneurship and Education offers a collection of resources providing free access to business and economic statistics collected by the U.S. Government.
Patent, Trademarks & Copyrights
United States Patent and Trademark Office grants U.S. patents and registering trademarks.
BSU Thurgood Marshall Library (Bulldog Login Required)
ABI Inform Global contains the full text of thousands of journals covering a variety of business subjects including accounting, advertising, computers, economics, finance, human resources, management and marketing.
Computer Database provides access to leading business and technical publications in the computer, telecommunications, and electronics industries. The database includes more than 600 journals and periodicals, providing information on computer-related product introductions, news and reviews in areas such as hardware, software, electronics, engineering, communications, and the application of technology.
Business Market Research Collection allows users to conduct company, industry, economic and geopolitical market research with information from Hoover's Company Profiles, OxResearch and Snapshots.
Business Insights: Essentials provides authoritative company and industry information, articles, and statistical data to analyze and interpret the information.
Business Collection (Gale) provides full-text coverage of all business disciplines including accounting, economics, finance, marketing, management and strategy, as well as business theory and practice. Includes activities of companies and industries worldwide through nearly 4,000 leading business and trade publications.
Nexis Uni provides access to newspapers and magazines, trade journals, wire services and transcripts, economic data on businesses, corporations, and full-text legal document, including U.S. Supreme Court decisions, U.S. Federal and State court cases, and law reviews.
Internal Revenue Service
The US Internal Revenue Service (IRS) offers a site with information on different types of businesses from the self-employed and independent contractors to businesses with employees. The site also includes articles on preparing and filing taxes and along with stages of owning a business.
- Sole Proprietorships
- Forming a Corporation
- S Corporations
- Limited Liability Company (LLC)
Research & Advocacy
National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) site offers the NFIB Small Business Playbook that provides a guide to small business-related legislation at the state and federal levels. The site also offers research, polls and information on small business trends.
TEDCO is committed to the investment and growth of Maryland based technology companies. TEDCO provides technology resources and connections for life sciences entrepreneurs and startup companies.
PTAC is a network of procurement professionals that help local businesses compete in the government marketplace successfully.
Funding & Financing Your Venture
TEDCO offers an array of funding streams that include the Pre-seed Builder Fund, Seed Fund, Venture Fund and Tech Transfer.
State of Maryland Department of Commerce offers numerous financial programs to support business growth. Funding programs include venture capital investments, tax credits, direct loans, grants and loan guarantees.
Small Business Innovation Research Program encourages domestic small businesses to engage in Federal Research/Research and Development that has the potential for commercialization. Through a competitive awards-based program, SBIR enables small businesses to explore their technological potential and provides the incentive to profit from its commercialization
Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Program expands funding opportunities in the federal innovation research and development arena. Central to the program is expansion of the public/private sector partnership to include the joint venture opportunities for small businesses and nonprofit research institutions.
National Science Foundation funds startups and small businesses across technology areas and markets including IoT, edtech, smart health, robotics, and much more.
National Institute of Health NIH’s SBIR and STTR programs invest over 1 billion dollars into health and life science companies that are creating innovative technologies that align with NIH’s mission to improve health and save lives.
DC Small and Local Business Grant provides funding opportunities with the District of Columbia.
Maryland Child Care Quality Incentive Grant Program awards funds to childcare providers to enhance the quality of care.
Maryland Economic Development Assistance Authority & Fund provides grants, loans and investments to support economic development initiatives daycare and revolving loan funds. Projects must be within Priority Funding Areas and eligible industry sectors. Awards are made on a competitive basis.
Online Entrepreneurial Magazines
Veteran Small Business Services
The Veterans Business Outreach Center (VBOC) is part of the U.S. Small Business Administration and is designed to provide entrepreneurial development services such as business training, counseling and resource partner referrals to transitioning service members, veterans, National Guard & Reserve members and military spouses interested in starting or growing a small business.
Boots to Business (B2B) is an entrepreneurial education and training program offered by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). The course provides an overview of entrepreneurship and applicable business ownership fundamentals. Active Duty Service members (including National Guard and Reserve), Veterans of all eras, and spouses are eligible to participate.
Doing Business in Maryland provides free guidance and resources to starting a business with links to federal, state and local agencies.
Doing Business in District of Columbia free, centralized platform with access to resources, events, agency and service provider points-of-contact, and business networking.
American Bar Association provides legal and tax information and a lawyer locator form.
Fiverr is an online freelance services marketplace
Cofounder an online space to network with cofounders, developers and team players to get the job done.
StartUp Nation is an online community forum with resources to start, grow and manage your business.
Chambers of Commerce are an excellent networking opportunity for small business owners and champions for small business in their communities.