By Calvin W. Goings, SBA Regional Administrator
With small business owners and entrepreneurs in traditionally underserved communities continuing to face challenges accessing capital, the U.S. Small Business Administration is offering two new loan programs aimed at increasing SBA-backed loans to small businesses in these neighborhoods.
SBA and U.S. Department of Commerce studies have shown the importance of lower-dollar loans to small business formation and growth in communities like Lakewood. With that in mind, the two new loan programs – Small Loan Advantage and Community Advantage – are aimed at increasing the number of smaller SBA 7(a) loans. These loans can be used for a variety of general business purposes, including working capital and purchases of equipment and real estate.
These two new loan programs tackle a couple of factors that we know exist when it comes to the challenges that small business owners face. First, to add more incentive for lower-dollar loans in these communities, SBA is providing a streamlined process for lenders along with the regular 7(a) government guarantee, 85 percent for loans up to $150,000 and 75 percent for those greater than $150,000. Second, SBA is taking steps that will increase the number of credit union and community banks that small business owners can go to access loans.
We will expand the points of access by opening SBA’s 7(a) loan program to Community Development Financial Institutions, Certified Development Companies and non-profit microlending intermediaries. And, with Community Advantage, SBA is making sure that the additional assistance some borrowers may need through counseling and technical assistance will also be available.
Entrepreneurs and small business owners across the country have enormous potential to drive continued economic growth and create good-paying jobs right here in Lakewood, but too often they face barriers in fulfilling that potential. That’s why SBA’s renewed effort to strengthen the link between these entrepreneurs and the SBA’s wide variety of resources is so critical.
The U.S. Small Business Administration, through our local offices and resource partners, can help businesses in Lakewood prepare a sound loan application that will enhance your chances of getting the funds you need. For more information on how the SBA can help you find the money you need for your small business, visit www.sba.gov.