SBA helped businesses access more than $571 million

COLUMBUS – The U.S. Small Business Administration’s Columbus District helped the state’s small businesses access more than $571 million in capital via its various loan programs in fiscal year 2019, which ended on Sept. 30.

Across the nation, the federal agency backed more than $28 billion in loans to entrepreneurs who, without the SBA, would otherwise be unable to access loans at reasonable rates, officials said.

“Even with a strong economy in which banks have more comfort with conventional lending, small businesses can still struggle to access to the funds they need to start, grow and expand,” SBA Great Lakes Regional Administrator Rob Scott said. “All businesses start small and our work in this region is essential for empowering local job creators and supporting them in their contributions to economic development and innovation.”

In central and southern Ohio, the SBA backed approximately 1,717 loans, including 103 loans in the 504 program, amounting to more than $62 million; 1,449 loans in the 7(a) program, amounting to more than $507 million; and 165 loans in the Microloan program, amounting to more than $1.3 million.

The loan programs bolstered a strong economy, helping small businesses get long-term, fixed-interest capital to provide working capital, acquire fixed assets and increase expansion opportunities, officials said.

“We strive to empower emerging businesses to start and grow by increasing accessible capital opportunities,” SBA’s Columbus District Director Everett Woodel said. “By doing so, we hope to support the mom-and-pop stores, the start-ups, the manufacturers and the underserved community in order to further develop economic growth in Ohio’s urban and rural neighborhoods.”

SBA’s Microloan amounts rose locally and nationally to a record total level, helping approximately 5,500 small businesses, typically start-up and under-represented entrepreneurs, access more than $81.5 million. This program offers loans to not-for-profit lending intermediaries that, in turn, make up to $50,000 loans to small businesses on reasonable terms. The average microloan is approximately $14,800 and can be essential for providing newly forming businesses with solid capital footing.

Local entrepreneur Michelle Allen, owner of Columbus-based small business MMELO, was able to expand her business from a pop-up shop in Easton in 2015 to a brick-and-mortar building with seven employees in 2019 by utilizing a loan from ECDI, an SBA microlender.

“The SBA Microloan program made my dream of expansion attainable, providing flexible guidelines and technical training to support my move to the new location,” she said.

In addition to its loan programs, SBA’s Lender Match platform has helped connect entrepreneurs with SBA-approved lenders within 48 hours via a quick online form without registration or cost to the user. To date, Lender Match has generated 4.4 million small business leads to its lenders, and lenders have contacted more than 230,000 unique borrowers with financing options.