Business Resource Center

Business Resource Center banner

The Monroe County Library System, partnering with the MI-SBTDC, presents the Business Resource Center. Located upstairs at the Ellis Library & Reference Center, the BRC includes a collection of books and other resources to aid entrepreneurs starting business ventures. Reference librarians are available onsite, as well as by telephone and email. Public internet computers and group study rooms are also accessible.


Non-circulating (Reference) Collection – Materials available for Library Use Only in the Reference Center can be found in the catalog under the subject heading Business Resource Center Collection

Circulating Collection – Materials available for check out from the Monroe County Library System can be found in the catalog and include these types of business-related subject headings such as EntrepreneurshipHome-based BusinessesNew Business EnterprisesSmall Business, and Writing Business Plans.

eBooks from the Woodland’s Downloadable Library (WDL) – Have an eReader or mobile device? You can download business-related eBooks. Visit the MCLS downloadable books for more information.

Periodicals, Newspapers, Financial Reports And Online Publications

Business-related Periodicals are located on the first floor of the Ellis Library & Reference Center. Current issues are available for library use only; back issues are available to check out. Titles include Entrepreneur and Inc.

Newspapers are located on the first floor of the Ellis Library & Reference Center. Back issues are kept for three months. Titles include Detroit Free PressMonroe Evening News,  and Toledo Blade

Financial reports are located in the Business Resource Center on the second floor of the Ellis Library & Reference Center. These reports are continually updated and include Value Line.

Online Publications

  • Woodlands Overdrive– Monroe County Library System’s online magazine provider, Overdrive includes subscriptions to Entrepreneur and Inc. magazines. Create an account using your library card, then download the app to enjoy access.
  • Small Business Publications – Several online government publications related to small business and entrepreneurship are available to download and view free of charge.
  • Small Business TRENDS – This award-winning online publication offers news, information, and advice for small business owners and entrepreneurs.


Monroe County Library System provides access to numerous business related databases, which are available from home with a password. Please stop by any branch of the Monroe County Library System and pick up the Online Services brochure for a listing of passwords. Click here to access the MCLS database collection, and then scroll down to the Business & Law section.

Computer Software

Microsoft Office is available on all on public computers throughout the library. Each Office software program has the potential to provide useful tools to the beginning entrepreneur:

  • Microsoft Word is a word processing program that includes a template for completing a business plan
  • Microsoft Excel aids in the creation of spreadsheets, charts and graphs that can be incorporated into business plans or other presentations
  • Microsoft PowerPoint is a presentation software program that helps entrepreneurs create slideshows and other business-related presentations
  • Microsoft Publisher is useful for the creation of brochures, flyers, newsletters, and business cards
  • Microsoft Access is a database program used for the storage of company data and mailing lists

Grants  While the federal government does not give out grants to most entrepreneurs, grants may be available at the state and local level. Details federal grants available for non-profit organizations or for-profit businesses in the fields of scientific and technology research and development.


Internal Revenue Service (IRS) includes a Businesses tab on their website that leads to information topics on starting a business, and the necessary forms that must be filed. This website is a must for new entrepreneurs.

AllBusiness has a little bit of everything relating to small business including startup, operations, marketing, finance concepts, and legal information. The site is sponsored by Dun & Bradstreet.

Bureau of Labor Statistics provides many types of labor statistics such as employment/unemployment, Consumer Price Index (CPI), productivity, spending and time use, labor publications, and much more.

Entrepreneur offers tips for starting a business, business plans, legal forms, financing a business and marketing. The website is sponsored by Entrepreneur Magazine, publisher of a series of step by step startup guides that are also owned by the Monroe County Library System.

Small Business Development Center National Information Clearinghouse provides many valuable tools for the new venture including samples of specific business plans, information on franchising, demographics, finance, international trade, taxes and accounting, as well as the GIS (Geographic Information System) Service, which will map and display all forms of geographically referenced demographic data.

United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) Website defines patents and trademarks, explains how they are useful to entrepreneurs, allows users to search for existing patents and trademarks, and walks users of the website through the process of registering a patent or trademark. The website includes filing applications and other documents, forms, and FAQs.

U.S. Small Business Administration offers entrepreneurs information on starting, registering, and running a business as well as legal and local information.

USA Counties is compiled by the U.S. Census Bureau. Data on this website includes age, race, business patterns, earnings, education, employment, households, income, labor force, manufacturers, population, retail and wholesale trade. Comparison data amongst counties or states is possible. is a centralized, one-stop platform for businesses. Users will find programs and services that will help them start a business, grow a business, access financing, find help with exporting and find opportunities. Each program includes a link to the US department that handles the program, a description of the service, eligibility requirements, and links to similar programs and services.

Local And Regional Information

Monroe County Business Development Corp. (BDC) – the mission of the BDC is to create job growth and capital investment in the community. Monroe County’s BDC has been “Driving the Economy since 1982” with a site that provides tools for those interested in locating their business or industry in the area.

Small Business Profile for Michigan – this document from the SBA’s Office of Advocacy supplies the most current data on small business activity in Michigan. Data includes demographics of business ownership, small business income, business turnover, and industry composition.  

Michigan Small Business & Technology Development Center provides counseling, training, research and advocacy for new business ventures, existing small businesses and innovative technology companies.

Pure Michigan Business Connect Michigan businesses have new ways to buy and sell, raise capital and connect with each other through the Pure Michigan Business Connect website.

Southeast Michigan Council of Governments (SEMCOG) contains community demographics regarding population trends, household types, age, race, ethnicity, and education levels.

Michigan’s Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) maintains a website that allows entrepreneurs to search for business name availability.

Michigan Economic Development Corporation’s Business Assistance  offers resources and tools to aid in the startup and operations of businesses in Michigan. The website provides business planning and financing tips, and its secure online service allows a business owner to register a business and apply for licenses and permits essential for running the business.

Michigan State Business License Search provides an alphabetical listing of businesses in Michigan that require state licensing. Visit this website to find out if a new venture requires a license.


AARP partners with the Small Business Administration (SBA) to help older entrepreneurs interested in starting and running a business. Their Self-Employment Website includes resources and webinars, a business plan template, a link to grants and small business loans, and a variety of tools and articles.