By: Shelby Lewandoski
Ms. Terri Denison, District Director of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) in Georgia, addressed the Brookhaven Chamber during their May Breakfast on the 11th. Founded in 1953, this federal government agency reports to the White House to execute the 3 C’s and 1 D. Capital, counseling, contracting, and disaster assistance are done on a daily basis to ensure small businesses are created, kept in business, and thrive.
In terms of capital, the SBA offers two types of loans; a loan program (called the SBA advantage) and a general purpose loan. Their 504 loan program can cover a maximum of up to $5 million. A free consultation is given for counseling and training on how to start a business as well as operate day-to-day activities. SBA’s website and resource guide also provide helpful information. SCORE, SBA’s non-profit volunteer association serves as a mentoring and counseling guide for new entrepreneurs and business owners.
The 8(a) business development program, HUBZone certification, and the New Women Owned small business certification are a few of the SBA’s government contracting assistance programs offered to small business owners. Disaster assistance is taken care of by FEMA. The SBA office of disaster offers disaster loan programs to help the business to continue until all is back to normal.
In Georgia, $1.4 billion was given in loans. 223 loans were offered and accepted with the average loan being in the low $600’s. Most loans were a 504 or 7(a) loan. “SBA is a long process, how is this being fixed?” was a question asked in the audience. Ms. Denison replied the SBA is trying to reduce the paperwork and time frame by becoming more electronic to speed up the process. Thank you to our sponsors, Iberia Bank and Harken Health!!