Where do I go for Business Assistance?
Whether your business is a start-up or an existing venture, all business has a life cycle and you will likely need some assistance during the life of your business. The Downtown Fresno Partnership is committed to seeing the existing businesses flourish while we attract new start-ups regularly. We are lucky in Fresno to have many agencies that offer low cost or free assistance to businesses. From financial assistance, to business plan preparation, to business coaching, you can get the help you need by checking out the resources below.
Fresno 4 Biz: Business has never been easier with Fresno4biz.com! For the first time, ten local, public/private organizations have united for one common goal: to help your business. Get assistance for your startup company, tips on how to expand your business, layoff aversion/transition strategies, and everything in-between. This FREE all-in-one source is your new go-to for all things business. Visit the Business Tools page and the Business Calendar.
SCORE: The Local SCORE Chapter is very active and thriving. This is the best place to start your business assistance search. SCORE offers regular courses called "Simple Steps" to get your business off the ground. They also offer classes to rejuvenate existing businesses. SCORE can connect parties to appropriate financing as well.
The Downtown Business Hub is a program of the Hispanic Area Chamber of Commerce. As the first bilingual incubator in the Western United States, the hub is a one-stop shop for Fresno's designated enterprise zone and the Fresno County Region. The Business Hub is a micro-lender that has generated over 100 loans totaling over $2.5 million since their opening in 2003. The Hub also offers workshops and training regularly for start-ups with a range of topics that are covered.
Technical Resource and Assistance Center (TRAC): Located in the Downtown Business Hub, TRAC is a program of the Valley Small Business Development Center (VSBDC). The VSBDC has been approved for a small business technical assistance grant from Union Bank for three years (2013 – 2015) to establish a Technical Resource and Assistance Center (“TRAC”) program that will focus on the preparation of existing small businesses to be “loan ready”. Small business owners will be able to receive counseling focused on “loan readiness”, technical assistance on financial trouble-shooting, and one-on-one training on any business issue, both directly from TRAC staff and if necessary via referrals to other, more appropriate, business service providers.
The Fresno CDFI is a certified Community Development Financial Institution that provides financing, training and technical assistance for individuals, small businesses and community facilities. View their 4 financial education and entrepreneurship webcasts here.
The Fresno Startup Guide is a consolidated guide to efficiently help you start your business in the City of Fresno.
The Central Valley Business Incubator (CVBI) Online Virtual Incubator Program: This mechanism provides incubation services and technical assistance to entrepreneurs desiring to move an idea to market while working in the convenience of their own space (home/office/community/etc.). Contact the Downtown Fresno Partnership for a free or discounted rate to use this in-depth tool that includes a business plan writing course, business coaching, business readiness assessments, and in-person consultations. Click here for more information on how to take advantage of this valuable program ($200 value) for free as a Downtown Fresno business.
California Capital Connections: The California Downtown Association (CDA) and Citi Community Development (CCD) present Capital Connections, a new initiative to promote economic development by increasing access to financing for small businesses with gross revenues of $1 million or less. Register online or contact the Downtown Fresno Partnership to fill out your business intake form to see if you are qualified for a loan and/or techincal resources.
SBA provides loans, grants and technical assistance to small businesses. You can also find assistance navigating government contracts and various certification programs. The SBA also provides the following resources to help specialized audiences start their own businesses.
- "Green" Business
- Home-Based Business
- Online Business
- Self Employment
- Minority Owned Business
- Veteran Owned Business
- Woman Owned Business
Fresno's Leading Young Professionals: From mentoring programs, to networking, to mixers, to events, to volunteer days, Fresno's Leading Young Professionals (FLYP) is a must for young professionals who want to engage in the business community. (Ages 21-40)
eWomenNetwork, Fresno Chapter: eWomenNetwork's purpose is to support, promote and showcase their members' products and services and to help them achieve their professional goals. They hold events and webinars teaching women to promote themselves and their businesses. Membership fees apply.
Fresno Chamber of Commerce: The Chamber advocates for local businesses, strengthens the business community and provides networking opportunities for area businesses.
If your business plans call for travel for any reason, remember to book through our partner travel agency, and our organization will receive a portion of the proceeds. Click on the image to the right to begin your booking.
Follow These 10 Steps to Starting a Business
Starting a business involves planning, making key financial decisions and completing a series of legal activities. These 10 easy steps can help you plan, prepare and manage your business:
Step 1: Write a Business Plan
Use these tools and resources to create a business plan. This written guide will help you map out how you will start and run your business successfully.
Step 2: Get Business Assistance & Training
Take advantage of free training and counseling services, from preparing a business plan and securing financing, to expanding or relocating a business.
Step 3: Choose a Business Location
Get advice on how to select a customer-friendly location and comply with zoning laws.
Step 4: Finance Your Business
Find government backed loans, venture capital and research grants to help you get started.
Step 5: Determine the Legal Structure of Your Business
Decide which form of ownership is best for you: sole proprietorship, partnership, Limited Liability Company (LLC), corporation, S corporation, nonprofit or cooperative.
Step 6: Register a Business Name ("Doing Business As")
Register your business name with your state government.
Step 7: Get a Tax Identification Number
Learn which tax identification number you'll need to obtain from the IRS and your state revenue agency.
Step 8: Register for State and Local Taxes
Register with your state to obtain a tax identification number, workers' compensation, unemployment and disability insurance.
Step 9: Obtain Business Licenses and Permits
Get a list of federal, state and local licenses and permits required for your business.
Step 10: Understand Employer Responsibilities
Learn the legal steps you need to take to hire employees.
There are a number of available programs in the Fresno area. If the above links don't provide the information that you are looking for, please call our office directly at 559.490.9966 or email Cole Judge for business assistance.