Getting Started

Business Qualifications

To get no cost SBDC consulting services the business needs to be in the tech and innovation fields, or one of our 6 industry clusters:

We look for people launching scalable high growth businesses, or for existing businesses that have potential for growth with the goal of obtaining funding and creating new jobs.

Additionally, the business must be beyond the conceptual stage. Concrete progress has to have been made such as a business plan. If you are not yet at this stage, please visit our online resources for help.

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Building & Design

Includes construction, architecture, engineering & real estate businesses.

Green Energy

Includes electric power generation & environmental consulting businesses.


Includes ambulatory care, hospitals, residential care, rehab, nursing & vocational rehab businesses.

Knowledge, Innovation, IT

Includes software, hardware, training, data processing, & telecommunications businesses.

Specialized Manufacturing

Includes aerospace, commodity, glass, power transmission, and other related manufacturing businesses.

Uniquely SLO

Includes recreation, accommodation, wine, breweries, agriculture, & food service businesses.

Businesses in Other Industries

If your business operates in an area outside tech & innovation or our 6 industry clusters, we may still be able to provide assistance with obtaining SBA loans or other financing. However, for assistance in other areas we will refer you to our partner agencies.

We do not provide assistance to non-profit organizations. If you are looking for help with a non-profit, please visit our partner agency, SPOKES.

Get Financing Assistance

Business in the Ideation Phase

If your business is still in the conceptual stages and you have not yet formed a business plan, we have a wealth of online resources to help. These resources can guide you through the process of getting started and working towards a point where you’ll qualify for SBDC consulting sessions.

Please do not apply for consulting sessions until you have moved beyond the conceptual stage and have made concrete progress with your business.

Online Resources