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Business Assistance

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Free and low-cost services for businesses. Expert advice for business owners, managers, and startups. Talk to people with firsthand knowledge of the challenges you face and secrets to success.

contact economic development staff at 209-385-6827

Small Business & Entrepreneurs

Small Business Assistance
UC Merced Small Business Development Center (SBDC)

The UC Merced SBDC provides expert, no-obligation business advising, training and resources to small businesses in Merced and Mariposa counties. The SBDC offers a diverse selection of little to low-cost classes to area businesses, including Social Media, QuickBooks, Customer Service, and more. The UC Merced SBDC is a member of the Central California SBDC Regional Network. Services include: 

  • Marketing and Sales

  • Business Start-up

  • Funding Assistance

  • Access to Capital 

  • E-Commerce

  • Business Plan

  • QuickBooks

  • and more!

UC Merced SBDC

(209) 228-3506

Valley Sierra SBDC

Valley Sierra SBDC assists business owners and senior managers, as well as startups, with planning; no-cost, confidential business consulting; and resources in all areas of operating a business. They provide one-on-one sessions with business experts, workshops and seminars, classes, and online resources. The SBDC is a member of the Central California SBDC Regional Network. Service areas include:​

  • Operations

  • Job costing

  • Pricing

  • Financial analysis

  • Marketing

  • Strategic direction

  • Business plans

  • Funding assistance and access

  • Support for veterans

  • Procurement services

Valley Sierra SBDC

(209) 422-6416

Modesto-Merced SCORE

SCORE is made up of local professionals with firsthand expertise in operating a business. These professionals are available to mentor small business owners and startup entrepreneurs. Services:

  • Free and confidential business consultation accounting, finance, marketing, management and business plan preparation

  • Business plan evaluation

  • Local workshops

  • Online library of business tools and resources

Modesto-Merced SCORE 

(800) 634-0245

UC Merced Venture Lab

Located in downtown Merced, the Venture Lab offers a toolbox for entrepreneurs and startups to take their project from concept to viable business. Services include:

  • Access to mentors

  • Market testing of concepts

  • Connection to legal assistance and intellectual property rights

  • Pitch sessions and networking events

  • Proof of Concept Fund for companies optioning or licensing UC Merced technology

  • Partnerships between UC Merced students, faculty members and community members

UC Merced Venture Lab


(209) 631-8217

Venture Lab


College Connections

College Connections
Merced College Business Resource Center

The Merced College Business Resource Center (BRC) provides an entry point for businesses to connect with college resources such as customized employee training and certification in the fields of medicine and office technology. Read more about Merced College's employee training programs under Hiring & Training.

Merced College Business Resource Center

(209) 381-6561

UC Merced Office of Technology, Innovation, and Industry Relations

The Office of Technology, Innovation, and Industry Relations collaborates with industry partners and facilitates connections with UC Merced research talent, new technologies, and potential employees. It is a first point of contact for businesses seeking partnerships with UC Merced. Service areas include:​

  • entrepreneurship industry alliances

  • innovation consulting

  • technology licensing

  • material transfer

  • sponsored research

UC Merced Office Technology, Innovation, and Industry Relations

(209) 228-4341

International Trade


International Trade

Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz) International Affairs and Trade

California's International Affairs and Trade unit provides support on issues relating to international trade and investment opportunities, foreign relations, international agreements and partnerships with the countries that have a friendly relationship with California. 

Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz) International Affairs and Business Development

(877) 345-4633

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Websites of respective organizations (March 2022).

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