Many programs to help you start your own business

This was originally published on Monday, March 30, 2015, in the Pacific Daily News.  Click here to subscribe to the PDN.

Question: I currently make some items for friends out of my home. My friends have told me that my products would sell and I am considering starting a new business. But I do not have any business experience or any idea where to start. Could you point me in the right direction?

Answer: Starting a business is exciting and can be overwhelming. It involves planning, legal requirements, and some financial decisions. Fortunately there are some resources that you can use to help guide you through this journey.

• Small Business Administration (SBA): SBA is probably the best resource that you can use to help you on your path. The SBA is a federally funded agency that was created in 1953 and currently serves those who want to build and grow local businesses. They network with private and public organizations. They offer counseling, mentoring and training both in a class setting and online. They also offer a variety of loans and grants to help start your business.

If you are an active duty service member or spouse and plan on transitioning out of the military soon, the SBA has a program called Boots to Business. Boots to Business is open to all pay grades. The program helps service members use their training, experience and leadership skills to start a business once separated or retired from the military. To learn more, go to

Along with assisting transitioning military members, the SBA also has programs to encourage women and minorities to become entrepreneurs and enter the business world. SBA will guide you from the planning stages to bringing your dream to fruition. To learn more about the Small Business Administration, go to its website at

• Guam Economic Development Authority (GEDA): According to its website, “The Guam Economic Development Authority (GEDA) is a public corporation (12GCA Chapter 50) with broad responsibility for the centralized direction, control and supervision of an integrated plan for the economic development of Guam. GEDA’s mission is to develop a sound and sustainable economy through innovative programs that preserve and promote local culture, economic opportunities and quality of life.” GEDA also offers loans to small business to help get them started. To learn more, visit its website at

• Business coach: Another resource to help along your entrepreneurial path are business coaches. If you want to get in shape, you hire a training coach. A business coach is there to help you develop your business sense. A coach can help you evaluate your strengths and areas that could use assistance. Business coaches can help mentor you. They usually have years of experience in business and are willing to pass down what they have learned through the years.

• Department of Veterans Affairs (VA): If you are a veteran, the VA in partnership with BusinessUSA can also be a source of assistance in getting your business off the ground. The Veteran Entrepreneur Portal (VEP) is designed to help connect veterans with resources to aid them in business startups. It is very convenient since all resources are located on one webpage. Go to to learn more on how this partnership can help you.

The hardest part of entrepreneurship is not the service or the goods you produce. The hard part is the daily routines of keeping the business running. Take advantage of these resources. Some may have a small fee attached to them; others are free. I wish you the best of luck on your new venture

Michael Camacho is president and chief executive officer of Personal Finance Center. He has more than 20 years of experience in retail banking and at financial institutions in Guam and Hawaii. If there is a topic you’d like Michael to cover, please email him at and read past columns at the Money Matters blog at


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