For those starting a business, there’s no need to go it alone

With the economy still sluggish and lenders remaining tighter with their money than they were during the boom years in Las Vegas, finding financing to start a small business can be a challenge.

SCORE and the U.S. Small Business Administration are two resources for entrepreneurs looking to start and nurture a small business. Additionally, the Nevada Office of Economic Development is a valuable source for small businesses looking to engage in international trade.

SCORE, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the formation, growth and success of small business nationwide, offers free counseling and mentoring for start-up business operators and to those preparing to launch a venture. Headquartered on the East Coast and with 350 active chapters in the U.S., including in Southern Nevada, the organization has helped more than eight 8 million small businesses since it was founded in 1964.

“Everything is focused on startup businesses, existing businesses, and improving the business — basically any component you can look for in the business,” SCORE counselor Raj Tumber said.

SBA provides a number of financial assistance programs for small businesses. Each program is designed to meet key financing needs, including debt financing, equity financing and surety bonds.

For start-up operators, SBA can help facilitate a loan through a third-party lender, guarantee a bond, or help find venture capital. It cannot, however, make grants or provide loans to small businesses.

Rather, SBA sets the guidelines for loans, which are then made by lenders and community development organizations.

While the SBA is a prime resource for domestic small business assistance, the OED is in place to help small businesses with international trade.

The OED is responsible for administering the Nevada Investment & Trade Revenue Opportunities program with the goal of filling Nevada’s export pipeline.

NITRO is funded partly by a SBA grant through the State Trade and Export Promotion Pilot Grant Initiative, a 3-year pilot trade and export initiative authorized by the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010 and funded by federal grants and matching funds from the states.

The STEP Pilot Grant Initiative provides grants to states for small business exporting assistance programs.The STEP Program is designed to help increase the number of small businesses that are exporting and increase the value of exports for those small businesses that are currently exporting.

Small businesses looking for financial assistance to enhance their exporting presence can apply at

For any small-business operator, Tumber says, keys for obtaining funding and gaining solid financial footing include having cash on hand and other assets of value to use as collateral, compiling a good credit score and demonstrating experience within a particular industry.

“If they are looking for money, conduct very good research,” Tumber said. “Locate where the money is and how it is being lent out. Also, identify the requirements and criteria involved. There are several requirements to getting a loan.”

Tumber also stressed the importance of having a written business plan with financial projections for the next two to three years in order to be eligible for receiving financing.