hangoutSome of our interns over here at Dun & Bradstreet Credibility Corp. decided to watch the Google+ Hangout with Small Business Association Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet, which aired August 27th. Ms. Contreras-Sweet was interviewed on a variety of small business topics ranging from small business development centers to programs for veterans to what kind of attitude is needed to make it as an entrepreneur! She also answered questions from audience members via live video chat. Here’s what our interns had to say about the Hangout:

Scott Peters: Hey guys, did you get a chance to check out the Google+ Hangout with SBA Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet a few weeks ago?  I thought it was super informative and answered some really important questions I had about small business development centers.  They provide resources for small businesses that include access to seasoned professional business advisors, who can offer advice on developing business plans, importing and exporting support, disaster recovery assistance, market research services, and much more.  Hey, Jessica! What did you learn from the Hangout?

Jessica Peurifoy: I really enjoyed the SBA Google+ Hangout as well, Scott. I thought it was a great way to learn about all the opportunities available to small businesses. I learned a lot about how the SBA is helping veterans pursue entrepreneurship. The SBA has partnered with Syracuse University to create Boots to Business. The program provides entrepreneurship training to more than 100,000 veterans every year. Veterans are trained in evaluating business concepts and developing business plans. Sounds like an awesome opportunity!

Blakely Goltra: Hey guys! I heard you talking about the SBA Google+ Hangout from the other day. I learned a lot from it too! Ms. Contreras-Sweet had some great advice for small business owners. She reminded me that all small business centers are free of charge, and she recommended joining the Google+ Small Business Community as a way to get out there and connect with other small business owners. As she put it, “Bashfulness is not going to work here!” If you want to grow a successful start-up into a booming business, you can’t be afraid to ask questions, and take risks! I also appreciated her reminder about the importance of reinvesting in your business.

Scott: That’s right, Blakely, making quality investments is huge, whether you’re talking about time or money.  Make sure your investments are sustainable, with a solid plan for growth.  Don’t take money out of your business–reinvest, and take advantage of free programs and services offered by the SBA.  It’s easy to find small business development centers with the state search function on the SBA website.  Also, if you need a SCORE office, Veteran business outreach center, or a woman’s business center, you can find all their locations here.

Jessica:  I also heard some great news for women-owned businesses. Maria Contreras-Sweet informed viewers that 23% of all federal contracts must be awarded to small businesses and 5% of that funding is designated for women-owned businesses! This is a great opportunity to level the playing field for women in business. Ms. Contreras-Sweet also announced a new SBA business credit score. The predictive credit score will combine an entrepreneur’s personal and business credit scores. The predictive credit score aims to get more loans out to more qualified business owners.

Blakely: I’m so glad we all got a chance to sit in on that SBA Google+ Hangout! I thought I knew a lot about small business programs, but it turns out there is even more out there than I knew about! There are so many awesome opportunities and services out there for growing small businesses. I can’t wait to spread the word and see businesses in my community continue to grow and prosper even more. See you guys later!

If you missed out on this Google+ Hangout, don’t worry! You can still watch it here. Also, don’t forget to join the Google+ Small Business Community to connect with other small business owners, and check out the resources available from BusinessUSA.gov!

Photo Credit: Deval Patrick, Flickr