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Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions (F.A.Q.)

Q: Is there a charge for consulting services?

The SBDC program is supported by funding from the U.S. Small Business Administration, the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development, the host University and other funders. Consulting is provided at no charge. Nominal fees may apply for training programs, materials, publications, and special services (e.g. research obtained from sources that charge a fee).

Q: Will my discussions, research, and materials be kept confidential?

All SBDC representatives agree to abide by the Pennsylvania SBDC's Standards of Professional Ethics and Conflict of Interest Policy. Information you provide will be held in strictest confidence and will not be released to any parties outside of the Pennsylvania SBDC network. Your information will not be sold or provided to other organizations. Specific information on you and the nature of your engagement with the SBDC will not be released without your consent. No information that you provide will be used to the commercial advantage of any SBDC representative or to the advantage of a third party.

Q: Are there any grants to help start my business?

Facts About Government Grants:

SBA does NOT provide grants for starting and expanding a business.

Government grants are funded by your tax dollars and, therefore, require very stringent compliance and reporting measures to ensure the money is well spent.  As you can imagine, grants are not given away indiscriminately.

Grants from the Federal government are authorized and appropriated through bills passed by Congress and signed by the President. The grant authority varies widely among agencies. SBA has authority to make grants to non-profit and educational organizations in many of its consulting and training programs, but does not have authority to make grants to small businesses. The announcements for the consulting and training grants will appear on grants.gov. If Congress authorizes Specific Initiative Grants, organizations receiving such grants will receive individual notifications.

Some business grants are available through state and local programs, nonprofit organizations and other groups. For example, some states provide grants for expanding child care centers; creating energy efficient technology; and developing marketing campaigns for tourism. These grants are not necessarily free money, and usually require the recipient to match funds or combine the grant with other forms of financing such as a loan. The amount of the grant money available varies with each business and each grantor.

Resource Link:

Loans & Grants Search API  Description  
SBA.gov's Loans & Grants Search API provides access to a collection of links to Federal, state, and local financial assistance programs that help small businesses get started or expand operations. Each program is categorized to several attributes, including specialized types of financing (e.g., start-up loans for women entrepreneurs).

If your question is not answered here, please visit the Pennsylvania SBDC FAQ.

SBA U.S. Small Business Administration            Lehigh University




Funding support and resources are provided by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania through the Department of Community & Economic Development; through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration; and in part through support from Lehigh University. All services are extended to the public on a nondiscriminatroy basis. Special arrangements for persons with disabilities or limited English proficiency can be made by calling (610) 758-3980. All opinions, conclusions or recommendations expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the SBA. SBDC services are not available to individuals or entities that have been barred or suspended by the federal government. By agreeing to receive assistance from the SBDC you are self-certifying that you are not currently federally bedarred or suspended and also agree to cease using SBDC services if you become federally barred or suspended in the future.