Many veterans consider the SBA for their funding. Here is an excellent article by Cassius F. Butts, Regional Administrator in Atlanta of the U.S. Small Business Administration. As we have discussed in class many times, the SBA is a great source of information. Even their website offers many great ideas. The SBA can help veterans find an SBA Preferred Lender in your area.
Butts writes.....Stellar, epic, amazing…. These are the words that describe the small business climate today. The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has measured the success of small business, and based on our findings, entrepreneurship is a sure way to secure your future and to reach your goals.
The fiscal year-end for the federal government was on Sept. 30, 2015. Overall, nationwide lending to small business with SBA-backed loans increased 23 percent (in loan dollar amounts) over fiscal year 2014 utilizing the flagship 7(a) Loan Program. The program is designed to provide working capital and general use of funds for small businesses. This is the largest increase in 7(a) lending since the Jobs Act infiltration in fiscal year 2011. Lending is stronger than ever across this nation.
The increase of SBA-backed 7(a) loans in the Southeast region is up 36 percent; the most significant increase I have witnessed in the past five years. We have witnessed nearly $5 billion in SBA-backed lending through the SBA’s 7(a) and 504 Loan Programs in the Southeast last year. Georgia has witnessed a 40 percent increase in lending over fiscal year 2014; $1.4 billion has gone to Georgia small businesses. These numbers speak for themselves.
The significant increase in lending has been made possible by the SBA’s continued use of improved technology, streamlining the delivery of our loan products, and increasing access to capital for underserved markets; reaching untapped small business communities for the first time.
Nationwide, $13 billion in SBA-backed loans (32,563 loans) have gone to underserved markets (to include minority-, women- and veteran-owned small businesses.) In Georgia, the number of loans to the aforementioned markets increased 54 percent over last year ($29 million/418 loans).
In terms of technology, the SBA has launched LINC this year. LINC is an online tool connecting borrowers with SBA-approved lenders, making access to capital more accessible than ever (https://www.sba.gov/tools/linc). We have streamlined our loan products through the creation of SBAOne; the turbo tax of lending making the process much easier and efficient for lenders and borrowers; eliminating the need for fax machines (https://www.sba.gov/blogs/sba-modernization-unlocking-commercial-capital).
The SBA has eliminated loan fees for loans valued at under $150,000, making capital that much more accessible to untapped small business communities. These are just a few of the tools that have supported the large increase in lending. Several initiatives help support our lending (https://www.sba.gov/about-sba/sba-initiatives) and I feel confident that you will see continuous new initiatives to secure the lending momentum.
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the success we have witnessed for our veteran-owned small businesses across the nation and in Georgia. More specifically, nationwide, the SBA has increased loans to veterans 101 percent in terms of loan value. In Georgia, we have seen a 75 percent increase in lending to our veterans. We are proud of not only the capital we are providing our veterans, but also the programs that we utilize to support veterans leaving the service with hopes of becoming entrepreneurs. The SBA has assistance available to our nation’s veterans every step of the way through their transitions.
Our lending is strong and we are counseling more entrepreneurs than ever before. Additionally, we are witnessing amazing successes in terms of government contracting for small business. The SBA is supporting technology and innovation through competitive grants. We are working with champions such as Invest Atlanta to implement the Start Up in a Day Program; where the SBA helps entities implement a simplified process for small businesses to get up and running.
The SBA is currently working with over 100 cities across the United States to simplify the start-up process for entrepreneurs and more cities are taking the pledge to commit to this effort every day. We are taking this agency into untapped communities with the final result of growing our small businesses and creating jobs for our communities.
We are well on our way to re-branding the SBA to be Smarter, Bolder, and more Accessible. We plan to continue on this stellar, epic, amazing journey to small business success. Won’t you join us on this entrepreneurial adventure?
Cassius F. Butts is regional administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration.