Securing financing is one of the most important keys (and one of the biggest obstacles) to small business success.
To help small businesses get the financing they need to strengthen and grow, the Small Business Administration (SBA) has several loan programs designed for very specific purposes.
It’s important to note that SBA does not directly provide funding to small businesses but sets the guidelines for loans, which are then made by lenders, community development organizations, microlending institutions and other partners. SBA then guarantees these loans will be repaid, mitigating the risk to lenders. This means that when businesses apply for an SBA loan, they are actually applying for a commercial loan backed by SBA and structured according to the agency’s requirements, but still handled following the lender’s credit and other criteria.
There are four main types of SBA loan programs:
7(a), SBA’s most common loan program, helps small businesses get up to $5 million in financing to fund startup costs, purchase new equipment, refinance debt and buy machinery, supplies, materials, supplies or other essentials for expanding operations. There are also several special purpose 7(a) loan programs including CAPlines for short-term and cyclical working capital needs; export loan programs to help businesses sell internationally; and advantage loans which provide financing to entrepreneurs and small businesses in underserved communities. Learn more about 7(a) loans, including eligibility requirements, repayment terms, processing times and how to apply.
The Microloan program provides small businesses up to $50,000 in financing through specially designated intermediary lenders, which are nonprofit community-based organizations with experience in lending as well as management and technical assistance. Funding can be used for working capital, inventory, furniture, machinery and other purposes. Learn more about the Microloan program.
The Certified Development Company/504 loan program offers small businesses funding for important fixed assets such as real estate and equipment. Certified Development Companies (CDCs) are regulated by SBA and work with lenders to provide financing to small businesses. Small businesses can use CDC/504 proceeds to purchase land, improve parking lots and build, improve or modernize facilities. Learn more about the CDC/504 program.
SBA provides low-interest loans to businesses located in declared disaster zones. You can use disaster loans to repair or replace real estate, personal property, machinery and equipment and inventory or business assets. In addition, SBA offers disaster assistance to residential property owners and renters, military reservists and businesses suffering economic injury. Learn more about SBA disaster assistance loans.