Mobile applications offer info, resources for small businesses
A new electronic application that quickly and efficiently finds loans, grants, and other useful small business resources, and its developer Somesh Kumar of Freemont, Calif., won first prize and $5,000 in a nationwide competition sponsored by the U.S. Small Business Administration. The competition and resulting seven “apps” are meant to put new and useful web tools at the fingertips of growing entrepreneurs.
As a result of SBA’s “Apps for Entrepreneurs Challenge,” a competition for tech-savvy developers to build new and useful web tools for small businesses, entrepreneurs can reach for their smartphone or tablet and search federal, state and local databases for vital information by using one of seven award-winning apps.
“It was a great learning experience to participate in SBA’s Apps for Entrepreneurs Challenge and to create SBA Gems,” said Kumar, whose winning app can be downloaded at “SBA Gems” at entrepreneurs.challenge.gov/submissions/5458.
“Smart phones and tablets are increasingly the vehicles through which Americans access information,” said SBA Administrator Karen Mills. “This is certainly true of many entrepreneurs and small business owners. Greater mobility fits with SBA’s new focus and is among the steps we are taking to do a better job of connecting entrepreneurs and small business owners with the tools to help them start or grow their businesses and create jobs.”
The SBA competition produced seven winners - one First Place winner ($5,000), three Second Place winners ($3,000 each), and three Third Place winners ($2,000 each) for a total of $20,000 in prize money - as follows (all seven apps can be downloaded from SBA’s web site, with URLs listed below):
1. First Place [1 Prize at $5,000]
SBA Gems – Find loans, grants permits etc.
2. Second Place [3 Prizes at $3,000 each]
CapitaList – Find federal databases for licenses, awards, proposals and websites. • Small Business Toolbox – Find small business programs SBA offices etc. • SBA Loan Search App— Find loans, venture capital, tax incentives etc.
3. Third Place [3 Prizes at $2,000 each]
Energy SBA – Find property rights, oil and gas leases, solar etc. • SB Alert – Find contracting opportunities and get push notification.• Every Thing For The Entrepreneur – Find SBIR solicitations and more.
These new mobile apps complement SBA’s mobile application created for iPhone in partnership with Palo Alto Software. Users can employ the SBA app to find local Small Business Administration-affiliated advisers and get free, personal, one-on-one help with starting and growing their businesses.
The SBA mobile app also features a built-in startup cost calculator to help estimate the costs associated with getting a business off the ground, plus an SBA partner locator to help users find SBA offices, Small Business Development Centers, Women’s Business Centers and SCORE.
Users will also have mobile access to SBA video content and social media alerts to provide them with tips on the go. This will include live updates from the SBA’s YouTube channel and from SBA’s Twitter feeds. The free mobile app can be downloaded from the SBA’s website at sba.gov/content/sba-mobile-app.