Growing Your Business

Mezza Café - Lemoyne, PA

Growing Your Business

Pennsylvania has a wealth of resources to help businesses grow and thrive. Business growth is the result of many actions and important decisions and may include diving into new markets, expanding to a new location, purchasing new equipment, and more. Whichever route you choose, we have the resources to help you take your business to the next level.

If you’re an aspiring or new entrepreneur, we encourage you to visit our Plan section to read more about our Getting Business Advice.

For existing businesses and those looking to expand in Pennsylvania, we have great information for you in this section to help your business reach its full potential. Read more about our local assistance networks, and how we can help you find or expand to a new location, explore government contracting, connect with diverse business resources, and take advantage of state funding programs.

Finding Business Experts Near You

We know that getting connected to the right business mentors and experts is important, and that having someone local to talk to about your business provides many benefits. Find out more about the local business networks, programs, and services available through our partners across Pennsylvania.

If you are just getting your business started, be sure to visit our page on Getting Business Advice to get the early-stage assistance and guidance you need.

Partnerships for Regional Economic Performance (PREP)

Our local and regional PREP partners have the experience and know-how to assist individuals starting a new venture, as well as existing businesses interested in ongoing business development and growth. PREP offers one-on-one counseling, specialized workshops, online training, financial incentives, and more designed specifically to meet the needs of our entrepreneurs.

Find your local PREP partner

Export Assistance

With one of the largest international networks of any state, our experts offer business counseling services to assist in you in selling your products and services in international markets around the world. Our Regional Export Network has partner offices throughout Pennsylvania ready to work with your business to increase your sales in new markets outside of the United States.

Find your Regional Export Network partner

Pennsylvania Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs)

The statewide Pennsylvania Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs) provide no-cost confidential consulting and low-cost training in proven management fundamentals, helping small business owners and potential entrepreneurs make sound decisions for the successful operation of their business.

Find your local SBDC

Small Business Administration (SBA)

On behalf of the federal government, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) offers a range of business support services, including financial loan programs and technical assistance.

Finding the Right Fit

As your business grows, you may find that you need a larger location for your increased operations. We want to help you find the right fit for your business in Pennsylvania. Check out our online tools and in-person services to help you locate or expand your business operations in the state.

PA Site Search

Our PA Site Search Tool lets you compare community profiles and view demographic, industrial, and socioeconomic data at sites throughout Pennsylvania to determine the best place for your next business location.

Find a location for your business

Governor’s Action Team (GAT)

The Pennsylvania Governor’s Action Team works with businesses to support their expansion and relocation projects which will result in significant job creation or retention in Pennsylvania. The projects that the Governor’s Action Team works on are usually large-scale projects requiring extensive expert coordination.

The Governor’s Action Team is comprised of economic development professionals who identify potential business sites, provide actionable information and data to inform decision-making, facilitate engagement with critical partners and resources, and prepare an assistance package tailored to the specific needs of each business expansion or relocation project.

Learn more about GAT

International Businesses

If you are an international business located outside of the United States and are interested in exploring locating or expanding in Pennsylvania, our Office of International Business Development (OIBD) is ready to assist. With one of the largest international networks of any U.S. state, OIBD and its representatives help foreign investors find sites in Pennsylvania, gathering research and data gathering, help clients establish their U.S. business entity, and facilite connections with potential partners and contacts with federal, state, and local governments.

For Pennsylvania businesses interested in selling their goods and services in international markets, visit our Local Business Assistance page to learn more about OIBD’s export assistance services.

Learn more about OIBD

Becoming a Government Supplier

Governments are significant purchasers of goods and services, which means there are many opportunities for businesses interested in becoming a supplier or vendor with both the federal and state governments.

There are many opportunities for businesses offering a wide variety of products and services in many industries. To learn more about the opportunities for entering into government contracting, please contact your local Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC).

Find your local PTAC

State Government Procurement

For businesses interested in contracting opportunities with Pennsylvania’s state government, the Pennsylvania Department of General Services hosts the PA eMarketplace, which has comprehensive information about contracting opportunities, registering to become a vendor for state government, signing up for project alerts, and learning more about related policies and procedures.

Diverse businesses (including minority-owned, woman-owned, veteran-owned, disability-owned, and LGBT-owned businesses) can learn more about competing for state government contracting opportunities and becoming a verified, self-certified small diverse business, in our Small Diverse Business section.

Go to PA eMarketplace

Supporting Diverse Businesses

There are specific opportunities and resources open to small diverse businesses in Pennsylvania on the local, state, and federal levels. In Pennsylvania diverse businesses include minority-owned, woman-owned, veteran-owned, disabled-owned, and LGBT-owned businesses.

Small Diverse Business Certification

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, some of which are listed below. 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.

Women: Woman’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC)

Minorities: National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC)

Veterans: Vets First Verification Program at vetbiz.gov

Disabled: US Business Leadership Network (USBLN)

LGBT: National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC)

Small Diverse Business Capital Access Program

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 our State Funding page.

State Contracting & Procurement Opportunities

Pennsylvania state government offers many contracting and procurement opportunities throughout the year. If you’re interested in competing for these contracts, there are benefits to registering as a small diverse business contractor. To begin the contractor registration process, visit the Department of General Services' website.

For more general information on becoming a supplier or vendor for state government, visit our Government Contracting page.

Small Disadvantaged Business Status

In addition to certifying as a small diverse business in Pennsylvania, you might want to explore the federal resources available to small disadvantaged businesses. A small diverse business may choose to represent itself as a small disadvantaged business, which generally requires the following:

    • • The firm must be 51% or more owned and control by one or more disadvantaged persons.
    • • The disadvantaged person or persons must be socially disadvantaged and economically disadvantaged.
    • • The firm must be small, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) size standards

Qualifying businesses that meet the federal standards for small disadvantaged businesses have access to a suite of additional federal programs and assistance. To learn more about acquiring this classification, visit SBA's website.

Small Diverse Business Resources

Once you have become a certified small diverse business, there are many resources available to you as a diverse business owner in Pennsylvania. There are many organizations and programs geared specifically toward small diverse businesses which offer substantial growth and development opportunities. These range from funding and government contracting to training, technical assistance, and professional development. Take a closer look at resources for women-owned, minority-owned, and veteran-owned businesses.

Supporting Women-Owned Businesses

If you are a female entrepreneur who is either interested in starting or currently owns a business in Pennsylvania, there are many organizations and programs that offer services specifically geared toward supporting you and your business. The resources in this section range from local to national in scope, and offer specific opportunities and funding to women-owned businesses.

State Resources

The Pennsylvania Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs) provide services to all small business populations and make special efforts to reach members of historically underrepresented and underserved populations, including women. Understanding the unique challenges women face, the SBDCs provide services tailored to their specific needs. In fact, women-and jointly-owned businesses consistently represent over half of their client base. Learn more about the targeted SBDC resources for women-owned businesses in Pennsylvania.

Regional Resources (PA-DE-NJ)

A partner with the Women's Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC), the Women's Business Enterprise Council (WBEC) provides women business enterprise certification, educational, networking, procurement-related, and informational programs and services that foster growth and business opportunities between WBEs and purchasing entities — including major corporations and government agencies — in Pennsylvania, Delaware, and Southern New Jersey.

The Women's Business Development Center (WBDC) fosters the development and retention of successful business by delivering resources that enable individuals to start new businesses and grow existing ones. WBDC facilitates the relationship between corporations, government and women-owned businesses to provide growth, and sustainability through the Women's Business Enterprise Council PA-DE-NJ.

Federal Resources

The federal government, through the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), helps women entrepreneurs launch new businesses and compete in the marketplace. They also connect them with available training and funding opportunities offered specifically to women. Learn more about the SBA’s resources for women-owned businesses.

Supporting Minority-Owned Businesses

If you are a minority entrepreneur who is either interested in starting or currently owns a business in Pennsylvania, there are many organizations and programs that offer services specifically geared toward supporting you and your business. The resources in this section range from local to national in scope, and offer specific opportunities and funding to minority-owned businesses.

State Resources

Minority-owned businesses are growing at a much faster rate than that of U.S. businesses overall. The Pennsylvania Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs) provide services to all small business populations and make special efforts to reach members of historically underrepresented and underserved populations, including minorities. Learn more about the targeted SBDC resources for minority-owned businesses in Pennsylvania.

Federal Resources

The Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) is an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce that promotes the growth of minority-owned business through the mobilization and advancement of public and private sector programs, policy, and research. They also work to connect minority-owned businesses with the capital, contracts, and markets they need to grow. Serving as subject matter experts and advocates for the minority business community, the MBDA conducts high-quality research and cultivates domestic and international relationships.

In support of small disadvantaged businesses compete in the marketplace, the federal government, through the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) created the 8(a) Business Development Program, a business assistance program for small disadvantaged businesses. The 8(a) Program offers a broad scope of assistance to firms that are owned and controlled at least 51% by socially and economically disadvantaged individuals.

Supporting Veteran-Owned Businesses

If you are a veteran entrepreneur who is either interested in starting or currently owns a business in Pennsylvania, there are many organizations and programs that offer services specifically geared toward supporting you and your business. The resources below range from local to national in scope, and offer specific opportunities and funding to veteran-owned businesses.

State Resources

Veterans and reservists starting a small business in Pennsylvania are exempt from paying a business fee, which is any fee required to be paid to the state government or a political subdivision for starting or opening a business in the state. Visit the Pennsylvania Department of State website to learn more about the Veteran-Owned Business Fee Exemption and its requirements. For more general information about registering a business in Pennsylvania, make sure to view our Register section.

Veterans have a significant impact on the economy as owners of their own businesses. The Pennsylvania Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs) provide services to all small business populations and make special efforts to reach members of all historically underrepresented and underserved populations, including veterans. Learn more about the targeted SBDC resources for veteran-owned businesses in Pennsylvania.

Federal Resources

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment (VR&E) services are designed to help a services-connected disabled veteran with job training, employment accommodations, resume development, and job seeking skills coaching. Its Education and Career Counseling program is a great opportunity for Veterans and Service members to get personalized counseling and support to help guide their career paths, ensure the most effective use of their VA benefits, and achieve their employment goals. Learn more and apply for education and career counseling on the VR&E website.

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) offers many types of support for veterans as they enter the world of business ownership. SBA programs feature customized curriculums, in-person classes, and online courses to give veterans the training to succeed. These programs teach the fundamentals of business ownership, SBA resources, and small business experts. Veterans can also connect with lenders through SBA’s Lender Match Tool. Learn more about the SBA’s resources for veteran-owned businesses.

State Programs for Existing Businesses

Several types of business funding are available through the Pennsylvania Department of Community & Economic Development, including loans and loan guarantees. tax credits, bonds, and grants. These business funding programs are for existing businesses, not startups.

Use the Program Finder to search for the right program for your business, and be sure to review the program guidelines and eligibility requirements to determine if your business qualifies. If you have questions about a specific program, Contact Us.

Search Programs

There are several funding programs for small diverse businesses, including the Small Diverse Business Capital Access Program (SDBCA), Pennsylvania Minority Business Development Authority (PMBDA), and the Business Opportunities Fund (BOF) to help disadvantaged and small diverse businesses access financing.

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