of small businesses are owned by persons of color and/or women
We provide free legal, finance, and marketing resources and small business support to BIPOC entrepreneurs, women, LGBTQIA+ entrepreneurs, immigrants, veterans, entrepreneurs with disabilities, low-income entrepreneurs, and formerly incarcerated entrepreneurs.
Let’s work together to achieve your dream of building a successful business for yourself, your family, and your community.
of small businesses are owned by Black individuals
of small businesses are owned by Latinx individuals
Qualify for Legal, Finance and Marketing Advice
To be eligible for pro-bono services, you must be a member of a one of these communities:
• Communities of color
• Formerly incarcerated individuals
• People with disabilities
• Low Income Individuals (ex: Federal Program Recipients - SNAP, Housing, Medicaid; below 300 FPG%)
We serve entrepreneurs who are currently operating and selling goods/services and can demonstrate recurring sales of at least $500 within the past three months.
Businesses must also have less than $1M in revenue over the last 12 months. Applicants must have a household income under 750% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines, and the household must have less than $100,000 in assets (not including the value of one's primary residence or retirement savings, such as 401K or Roth IRA accounts).
Start Small Think Big, Inc. is dedicated to partnering with individuals who share our values of diversity, equity, integrity, acceptance, and inclusion. We welcome business owners who, like us, accept customers, clients, and employees of all identities. These values support our vision of entrepreneurship and guide the way we work. For more information on our values, please click here.
Please note that this criteria is an attempt to assess an Entrepreneur’s access to capital and may require further review based on information, answers, or statements provided before or during the application and onboarding process.
How To Get Free Small Business Support
1. Fill Out Application
Click on the link to fill out the application. It should take between 5-10 minutes. Make sure you have your recent business info handy (revenue, expenses, and sales).
2. Meet With Our Intake Team
Within five days after submitting your application, you will hear from us with a decision.
If you and your small business are eligible for free resources, your next step will be to upload proof of personal finances and business sales and schedule your service assessment.
3. Access to Our Free Services
Based on your Intake, our team will help prioritize your business needs and outline a plan to connect you to our network of legal, finance, and marketing professional volunteers and programs. Eligibility lasts for 12 months, after which you will need to re-apply.
*Note: We are not able to guarantee timelines for our services.
Free Small Business Resources
If you are not ready to apply, you can always visit the Resource Center on our website, available for free to the public, where you can find a selection of articles written by experts across legal, finance and marketing topics. Find upcoming events and workshops developed in partnership with top law firms and financial institutions, watch a replay, and more.
Loans and Grants List
An aggregate, but not necessarily comprehensive, list of publicly available funding sources that may be available to entrepreneurs is available in our resources section (e.g., Black, Immigrant, Person of Color, or woman-owned businesses).
Events & Workshops
We partner with the local community, corporations, entrepreneurs, tax and government institutions, and other entities to produce virtual and in-person events and workshops for small business entrepreneurs looking to learn, network, and grow.
Learn About our Services
We connect entrepreneurs with a network of professional volunteers from across the country. From helping to select a legal entity, draft contracts, develop a marketing plan, understand financial statements, and more, see the full list of services we offer on our Expertise page.
Small Business Blog
Join the community to read personal stories from other entrepreneurs and get tips and insights from our how-tos and other informative articles to help you along your small business journey.
Browse through our video library hub to see past workshops on various finance, legal, marketing and leadership topics led by Start Small Think Big employees, entrepreneurs and our partners and volunteers.
Small Business Testimonials
Do you have questions about volunteering opportunities? Find the answers you need, and browse a list of frequently asked questions. You can always contact us if you need further assistance.
Once onboarded, you will have access to our services for 12 months, at which point you are more than welcome to reapply as many times as you continue to be eligible.
Unfortunately, we do not have the resources or expertise to assist with nonprofits, as it is a very distinct business model.
Unfortunately, Start Small Think Big's services aren't suitable for businesses that are in a pre-launch or idea phase, and/or have not generated multiple sales totaling at least $500 in sales within the past 3 months. You are more than welcome to apply for our services when you reach $500 in sales!
Yes! We welcome returning clients, as well as anyone whose situation may have changed and who may now be eligible for our services, to reapply.
Prospective clients are asked to upload personal + business documents which will be reviewed during the Service Assessment in order to confirm your baseline financial circumstances and finalize our eligibility determination.
- Note: We will not disseminate this documentation or use it for any other purpose. All documents are deleted after the onboarding appointment is complete.
- You are welcome to screen-share these documents or blackout personal information such as account number(s) or social security number(s).
We ask that you upload the following documents to our secure portal:
- Proof of Annual Income: Personal tax return (if business filed taxes last year)
- Proof of Assets: Screenshots or bank statements showing current month’s balances from all household checking, savings, and business bank accounts (if any)
- Proof of Sales: records showing at least $500 in recurring sales in the last 3 months. The sales can be via Venmo, PayPal, Square, paper receipts, bank statements showing deposits, Shopify, etc.
Unfortunately, we do not provide our clients with direct funding. Start Small Think Big is NOT a grant, but we occasionally provide clients with sales opportunities internally, or with other partners/clients.
Take a look at the following Grants and Loan opportunities available to the public: SSTB External Loans + Grants Resource: https://www.startsmallthinkbig.org/resources/loan-grant
There’s no catch! So long as applicants meet our eligibility criteria, they are able to receive free volunteer services. We ask clients to opt in to receiving email reminders for appointments, newsletters, and follow-up surveys.
Unfortunately, we do not have a Certified Public Accountant on our Finance Team to provide clients with tax advice. It is advised to seek general guidance published from tax authorities if helpful. Our Finance Volunteers may help you set up or clean-up your bookkeeping system, which will likely form the basis of what you file. You can learn more about what we offer here: https://www.startsmallthinkbig.org/what-we-do.
Given that our services are provided primarily by volunteers, we are unable to promise a specific timeline for our services. Our services are not a good fit for anyone with urgent needs. We thank you for your patience while we work to set up our clients with our pro bono marketing, finance, and legal services.
While clients are waiting to be matched with a volunteer, we suggest taking a look at our events page for upcoming workshops and webinars hosted by industry experts!
While we are only able to offer legal services in specific states (NY, CA, DC, NJ, PA, MD, VA, WA), we offer Finance and Marketing services in all 50 states!
Unfortunately, our legal volunteers are unable to support clients with litigation, conflicts, or anything going to court. You can learn more about what we offer here: https://www.startsmallthinkbig.org/what-we-do.
We have a strong network of community partners that assist small businesses all over the country with a wide range of services. If you need help with something that we do not offer, please feel free to reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will share any resources we are aware of that may be helpful to you.