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State Resources: Starting a Business

There are 31.7 million people employed by small businesses. According to the Small Business Administration (SBA), small businesses comprise more than 99% of all US businesses. They are economic drivers. It's no wonder that the federal government as well as every state has multiple agencies dedicated to helping new businesses form and succeed.

State small business resources include:

  • The Secretary of State offices often provide key startup services such as registering a business name and trademark.
  • State Departments of Economic Development often provide training programs, financing, tax credits, hiring assistance, and more.
  • State departments of commerce oversee regulated industries and help ensure a competitive and fair marketplace. In some states, they provide business registration services.
  • Small business development centers provide training and business advice to new and existing small business owners. They can help an entrepreneur find capital, develop a business plan, conduct market research, and improve management.
  • State Procurement Offices provide opportunities to secure state-level business contracts.
  • State licensing agencies provide occupational, professional, and other business licenses required before some companies can do business.
  • State regulatory agencies provide needed permits for some types of businesses.

State-by-State Resources for Business Startups

Clearly, there are many agencies and organizations ready to help a new business get off the ground. The table below provides links to state resources for starting a business.

Alabama
Alaska
Arizona
Arkansas
California
Colorado
Connecticut
Delaware
District of Columbia
Florida
Georgia
Guam
Hawaii
Idaho
Illinois
Indiana
Iowa
Kansas
Kentucky
Louisiana
Maine
Maryland
Massachusetts
Michigan
Minnesota
Mississippi
Missouri
Montana
Nebraska
Nevada
New Hampshire
New Jersey
New Mexico
New York
North Carolina
North Dakota
Ohio
Oklahoma
Oregon
Pennsylvania

Puerto Rico& Virgin Islands

Rhode Island
South Carolina
South Dakota
Tennessee
Texas
Utah
Vermont
Virginia
Washington
West Virginia
Wisconsin
Wyoming

Federal and Local Government Resources for Businesses

At the federal level, key agencies include:

  • The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) with offices in every state
  • U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to protect the intellectual property of new businesses
  • SAM.gov, the website businesses can use to find government contracts
  • The IRS provides an employer identification number, which every new business will need before it employs anyone (other than the owner) or pays business taxes. (Sole proprietors have the option of using their personal Social Security number.)

Local governments also provide business services:

  • Counties and cities also have procurement offices
  • Permits may be needed, depending on the type of business

Chambers of Commerce

Many people think of a Chamber of Commerce as a government entity, but it is not. It is a professional network of businesses and business owners. A business may be able to access competitive benefits packages, business products, and even HR expertise through their state Chamber. But local communities may also have a chamber of Commerce.

For additional information about starting a business, see

Get Legal Help Before Starting a New Business

Starting a successful business can be difficult. Let FindLaw's First Steps to Start a Business help you. When you are ready, get the legal help you need. Talk to a business and commercial law attorney who specializes in small businesses.

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