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Business Information Centers (go to website)

The U.S. Small Business Administration's (SBA) Business Information Centers (BICs) provide a one-stop location where current and future small business owners can receive assistance and advice. BICs combine the latest computer technology, hardware and software, an extensive small business reference library of hard copy books and publications and current management video tapes to help entrepreneurs plan their business, expand an existing business or venture into new business areas. The use of software for a variety of business applications offers clients of all types a means for addressing diverse needs.

In addition to the self-help hardware, software and reference materials, BICs have on-site counseling provided by the Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE). These former businessmen and women lend their expertise and knowledge to assist clients with problems and issues confronting those starting, managing and growing a small business.

Counseling provides the one-on-one interaction which leads the small business owners to develop personalized plans of action leading to the right choices for their businesses. Some BICs also have established linkages with Small Business Development Centers and together they offer not only general, but specialized, counseling and training.

Individuals who are in business or are interested in starting a business can use the BIC as often as they wish at no charge. For the prospective business owner, visits to the BIC may be frequent, as they do the basic research necessary to reach the decision to start their business. Existing business owners may use the BIC less frequently, but will find many resources aimed at business growth.

Each BIC adds new materials and resources throughout the year as they become aware of special needs in their small business community. The BICs are also used to inform the public about new initiatives and programs offered by the SBA and to reach business owners who might not otherwise take advantage of SBA's programs and services. Every BIC has access to SBA Online, the agency's national electronic bulletin board and most have access to the Internet.

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