Is an Sba Small Business Startup Loan Right for your Business?

By: Ryan Mapes

The SBA is not primarily a direct lending institution; instead it guarantees small business startup loans made by private institutions. In other words, they back a portion of a loan made by SBA partners to eliminate some of the risk. Partners agree to structure their loans by SBA requirements in order to participate in the programs, and the amount of backing that partners receive can vary based on the federal government fiscal policies.

SHOULD YOU SEEK A SBA LOAN?
Because there is one more organization involved, it can take longer to get an SBA small business startup loan than it does using a traditional lender. But if you have been unsuccessful in getting a small business startup loan traditionally, an SBA loan may be your best choice. However, realize that even if the SBA backs the loan you want, the lender is not obligated to give you the loan.

LOAN PROGRAM OPTIONS
BASIC 7(a) LOAN GUARANTEE
The 7(a) loan program is the most popular and most basic program offered by the SBA. Most banks and sometimes other lending institutions participate in the program. The process begins with a typical application to a bank. If the bank thinks the small business startup loan would be high risk, they submit it for consideration in the SBA program. The SBA can guarantee a portion of the small business startup loan if the lender would not get paid. The business borrowing money however, would still be obligated to pay the debt. Even if the SBA decides to offer a guarantee, it is still up to the lender to determine whether a loan will be granted.

ELIGIBILITY
To become eligible for a basic 7(a) loan guarantee, you must meet the size restrictions, be a for-profit company, not have other sources of financing available for the use of funds needed, and have the ability to repay the loan under the terms agreed upon.

CONDITIONS
Repayment ability from the cash flow of the business is the most important consideration in the decision of the SBA to approve or reject a loan. Management capability, collateral, character, and the owner's equity contribution are also taken into consideration. Some variations of the 7(a) program may require other things.

PURPOSE
The SBA 7(a) loan proceeds may be used to start a business, assist in the operation or expansion of a current business, or to acquire a business. This means loans may be used for working capital, equipment, land, buildings, refinancing existing debt that have no other good refinancing options, or to purchase an existing business."

504 LOAN PROGRAM FOR A CERTIFIED DEVELOPMENT COMPANY
The CDC/504 loan program provides long term fixed rate financing for major fixed assets, such as land and buildings. A certified development company (CDC) must be non-profit company designed to contribute to the economic development of the community. The CDC works with the SBA and other lenders from the community to finance small businesses. A personal guarantee by the principal owner is required along with the project assets being financed as collateral.

PURPOSE
In general a company must create or retain one job for every $50,000 provided by the SBA, except for small manufacturers where the number is $100,000. The funding is not available for working capital, refinancing, and consolidating or repaying debt.

ELIGIBILITY
A business must be for-profit, not exceed a tangible net worth of $7.5 million or an average net income of $2.5 million, and not be a real estate investment or speculation based company.

MICROLOANS- A 7(m) LOAN PROGRAM
This program provides smaller small business startup loans (up to $35,000) to startup businesses or growing small businesses. The SBA directly gives the local community lenders who disburse the money according to their own eligibility requirements. The following link provides a list of Microloan Intermediaries by state.

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