The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and the U.S. Department of Labor have announced a new website to support state workforce and unemployment agencies in implementing or enhancing Self-Employment Assistance programs. The announcement expands on guidance issued in May, which included $35 million in funding for states to implement or expand these programs made possible through the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012.
“Our job at the SBA is to provide access and opportunity to entrepreneurs who want to start, grow or expand their businesses,” said SBA Administrator Karen Mills. “For entrepreneurs who find themselves unemployed, the SEA website and toolkit will help them turn small business ownership into a reality and possibly put others back to work at the same time-a win-win scenario.”
Participation in Self-Employment Assistance programs is voluntary for eligible unemployment insurance recipients, and enables them to receive financial assistance equal to their unemployment insurance benefits while they receive important entrepreneurial training and resources to help launch their own businesses. The new website provides tools and technical assistance to states that are considering implementing or enhancing a Self-Employment Assistance program, and additional resources to help savvy entrepreneurs launch their businesses and create new jobs.
“Small businesses are the country’s economic engine, and programs like Self-Employment Assistance will encourage more Americans to pursue their dreams of becoming entrepreneurs,” said Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis. “This new website will expand access to Self-Employment Assistance so that those who are unemployed today can become successful business owners tomorrow.”
A key component of the new website is the SBA toolkit, which contains several free online resources available through the SBA to support new entrepreneurs. Helping budding entrepreneurs gain access to SBA’s partners and its many resources is key to operating a successful Self-Employment Assistance program. Through the site, the SBA continues to offer free online business courses on topics such as How to Prepare a Business Plan, Franchising Basics, Government Contracting, Green Business Opportunities and more. Entrepreneurship and Business Planning, Entrepreneurial Marketing and Finding Money to Start a Business are some of the other courses available through the site. It also highlights successful practices from states currently operating Self-Employment Assistance programs to assist new states as they implement or enhance their programs.