Small Businesses Can Benefit From Helpful Private-Sector Programs for Advice, Loans

We often write about small businesses and their crucial role in the nation’s economy, and we frequently focus on how important it is for them to be aware of and participate in government programs that are designed to help them.

In the spirit of the holiday season, we thought that today we would write briefly on lesser-known private-sector efforts to give small businesses an injection of know-how, business ideas, and even a little bit of cash.

The New York Times published an article recently that focused on the efforts of Jim Koch, the founder of Boston Beer Co., which makes Sam Adams beer among other products, to help small businesses. Boston Beer was a small business in the 1980s and now has a market capitalization of $1.4 billion.

Koch engages in “speed coaching’ for small businesses, devoting 20 minutes to each of dozens of food, beverage and hospitality companies that look to him for advice at coaching evenings.

Boston Beer also committed $1.4 million of its money for microloans to help small businesses. The loans are small, ranging from $5,000 to $7,000, but they can make a real difference for companies just getting off the ground. Boston Beer works with a microlender, Accion, to make these loans.

Several of these private-sector coaching and mentoring programs exist around the nation, and small businesses might wish to look into them. Just a few minutes of advice from an experienced business person can push a company in the right direction.

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