Today, many companies and institutions offer training and other educational services that would support small business owners and other members of the workforce. And what’s even better about this is that many of these companies and institutions offer niche subjects that are specially designed for every member of the workforce. If you wish to enter the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) industry, then you are in luck because many companies offer basic HVAC online training.
What is also great is that many nonprofits all over the world are established for the express purpose of supporting small business owners. Many individuals and groups in the social sector are deeply concerned with uplifting underserved communities—opening more opportunities that would lead to their socioeconomic prosperity. And one of the best ways to do so is equipping small business owners with the resources, knowledge, skills, and mindsets necessary to build a successful business. These are four examples of nonprofit organizations dedicated to supporting small business owners.
The BOMA Project
Established in 2005, The BOMA Project is dedicated to improving the living conditions of women and children in the African drylands, especially in Kenya. And they are doing so by supporting the women in their quest to become business owners and stable providers for their families.
The BOMA Project’s main initiative is the Rural Entrepreneurship Access Program or REAP for short. Through this program, Kenyan women go through skills training necessary to the business they are envisioning to own and manage, have the support of mentors for over two years, and develop connections with financial markets by helping them set up bank accounts and use mobile phones. To date, The BOMA Project has worked with over 37 thousand women, transformed over 188 thousand children’s lives, and helped launch over 12 thousand businesses in Kenya.
If there is one nonprofit organization that small business owners in the United States reach out to, it’s SCORE. Established in 1964, SCORE has been considered as the largest network of volunteers, experienced mentors, and participants in the world of business. Much like The BOMA Project, SCORE is dedicated to skills training and knowledge building that would support small business owners in the long run and ensure the success of their business. SCORE is also known for conducting online seminars and courses suited for every type of small business owner. They also provide a library of resources that business owners can access online.
To date, SCORE has effectively mentored more than 11 million small business owners and has been working with over ten thousand volunteers and mentors.
Some small business owners also integrate into their business their advocacy. Through the products and services that they serve, they are also dedicated to certain missions such as saving the environment, empowering women, educating children, etc. Thus, they are more than just small business owners. They are also social entrepreneurs. And there’s one organization that social entrepreneurs reach out to for support: Ashoka.
Since 1981, Ashoka has been at the forefront of supporting social enterprises all over the world. They identify the most innovative and impactful social enterprises and support them through funding, networking, or others. As a result, the social entrepreneurs can accelerate the success of their businesses and create more positive impacts in their communities. To date, Ashoka has worked with over three thousand Ashoka Fellows (social entrepreneurs), reached over 90 countries, and worked with 300 employees within the organization.
“[Uplifting] out of poverty by harnessing the power of the private sector.” This is the mission that is at the heart of TechnoServe. They work with the residents of low-income communities around the world, equip them with the knowledge, skills, and resources so that they can build thriving farms, businesses, and industries in their communities. They specifically focus on developing skills in marketing, finance, and adapting to challenging environments (e.g., where the weather can be unpredictable).
TechnoServe’s impact began in Ghana over 50 years ago. But now, the organization has reached communities in over 30 countries. They have helped build $201 million financial benefits for over 300 thousand small business owners. Thirty-eight percent of these small business owners are women.
Because of these nonprofit organizations, it is clear that small business owners can always have someone to reach out to for help. They are often the first ones to be affected by economic downfalls (as demonstrated in the recent economic crises caused by the COVID-19 pandemic). But the good thing is that these four organizations and more are here to support them and uplift their families, and communities from poverty through responsible and stable business practices.