Small business money for persons with disability comes in the form of low interest loans, grants, business supplies, education and training. Eligibility to obtain funds or to receive preferential treatment is generally based on disability status of the small business owner. The federal government provides small business funding to people with disability through agencies and no for profits.
Small Business Low Interest Loans for People with Disabilities
The Small Business Administration uses various low rate loans to fund small businesses; including those owned by persons with disabilities. Eligible entrepreneurs can claim disability status to obtain preferential treatment from the SBA. In addition to low rate business loans, SBA provides education and training to entrepreneurs. The following are some examples for funding opportunities from the government through the SBA:
- SBA 7(a) Loan Programs – This loan facility is available through authorized lenders. Loans under this program can be used for starting a small business, for expansion of an existing business or to purchase a business.
- CAP Lines – These are lines of credit designed to meet short term small business needs. There are five different lines of credit under this SBA program; all can be designed to meet specific needs. The maximum loan maturity is five years, typically lines have shorter maturities.
- SBA Patriot Express Loan Initiative – This assistance is for veterans of the armed forces and their qualifying spouses. The money can be used for staring or expanding a business owned by the veteran.
- America Recovery Capital Loan Programs or ARC – This program has been designed to provide temporary funds to small businesses that are going through financial difficulties. The maximum amount of funding is $35,000 and only one loan is allowed per business.
SBA loans applications are available online at SBA.gov
Social Security Administration’s PASS Program for Persons with Disabilities
PASS or Plan to Achieve Self – Support is a program funded by the Social Security Administration. The program’s purpose is to help persons with disability gain self support through paid or self- employment. PASS money can be used to purchase supplies for starting a business, transportation, training and business equipments such as computers, cars and telephones.
For disabled individuals looking for self employment, PASS requires a business plan document. Help is available to prepare business goals and plans from SSA and non profits organizations involved with SSA. Applications for PASS are available online at SSA.gov/PASS.
Training Assistance for Small Business Owners with Disabilities
The government funds local non profit organizations that provide disabled individuals with training and development to start a small business. This includes technical, operations and marketing training as well as free business plans. These are examples of non profits providing training to small business owners:
- The Job Accommodation Network, JAN, at askjan.org – This organization provides business resources and business plans software for business owners with disabilities.
- Start Ups USA at startup.biz – provides self employment assistance, business plan writing and education on starting and operating a small business.
- T-tap Training and Technical Assistance at t-tap.org – this organization is funded by the US Department of Labor to help persons with disabilities with online and offline local business training.