“The most valuable thing you can make is a mistake – you can’t learn anything from being perfect.” – Adam Osborne
Innovative Dubuque LLC owner/founder Brock Waterman comes from a background of small business owners. He knows many people need help and do not have the budget to afford the services they truly need. Thankfully, there are free or low-cost government and non-profit business assistance options available and we have listed some of these options below. While being listed below is not an endorsement on our part, we feel it is important to share this information so as many people as possible can get help. Make sure to know how many hours you will get from each business assistance service. Also learn how each entity is funded/measured so that you can ensure you get help in the way that best suits your needs.
- Dubuque Small Business Development Center (SBDC) – Free help with business registration and planning. Great for those without a budget and who have the time to do a lot of the work themselves.
Wisconsin (Crawford, Iowa, Grant, Green, Lafayette, and Richland Counties)
- Southwest Wisconsin – Small Business Development Center (SBDC) – Free help with business registration and planning. Great for those without a budget and who have the time to do a lot of the work themselves.
- Southwest Wisconsin Cap – Potentially free business development support focused on 4 categories: Business Start-up Planning, Small Business Lending, Marketing Support, Business Expansion Planning. A great resource for low-income individuals with no budget and who need more help in the planning process
- WWBIC – Wisconsin’s largest microlender, who pairs technical support with loans that come at a higher interest rate for people who cannot otherwise get funding. Great program for refinancing existing debt (one of the few options).
- America’s SBDC – Free help with business registration and planning. Great for those without a budget and who have the time to do a lot of the work themselves.
- Score – Free assistance from retired executives across the United States. Typically a service that has better offerings in larger cities, each office varies by the amount of staff and qualifications of volunteers.
- Small Business Administration (SBA) – Per their site the SBA “Helps small business owners and entrepreneurs pursue the American dream of business ownership. The SBA is the only cabinet-level federal agency fully dedicated to small business and provides counseling, capital, and contracting expertise as the nation’s only go-to resource and voice for small businesses.” They fund both SBDC and Score and do not directly consult with businesses, but do offer information online at their site. Loans they offer are given as guarantees via banks, so they do not lend directly to consumers.