SBA has funds, help for business dreams

Lack of capital and business- management skills are the greatest obstacles that entrepreneurs encounter on their path to fulfilling dreams of a thriving small business, U.S. Small Business Administration officials said in a press release.

To help more small-business owners clear that hurdle, U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) leaders developed the Community Express Loan program that pairs free technical assistance with loans ranging from $5,000 to $250,000.

SBA leaders will conduct a free seminar on Kaua‘i Wednesday from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. at the Lihu‘e Civic Center Mo‘ikeha Building first-floor conference room, to highlight this financing tool designed for both existing and prospective small-business owners.

“SBA recognizes the challenges, so we’ve come up with a solution by combining the two elements in this Community Express program,” said Andrew Poepoe, SBA Hawai‘i district director.

“By pairing business counseling with the loan, small-business owners really assess their plans and use of loan proceeds to produce more successful results,” said Poepoe.

“We’ve had a great response to this loan because the applications are streamlined, the free assistance is high-quality, and the proceeds can be used for almost any business purpose.

We’re prepared to make a lot more of these loans,” he added.

The Community Express Loan is designed to increase lending to owners and operators of small businesses that are located in Hubzones, in low-to-moderate income areas, or are 51 percent or more owned by women, minorities and/or veterans who haven’t always had access to training, technical assistance and other resources, he explained.

Typically, for the smaller loan amounts, the applicant does not require collateral, a business plan, financial statements or tax returns. It does require that the borrower have a good credit rating.

Local bankers and approved technical-assistance providers will join SBA Business Development Specialist Kim Hite in presenting the Community Express Loan Program on Kaua‘i.

The workshop leaders will include advice on loan applications and credit.

Those prospective borrowers with good credit, a business license and business-banking account may even initiate their applications with the consultants following the training.

Advance registration is highly recommended. Call 1-808-541-2990 or 1-808-541-3024 for more information, or to register.

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