Small Business


  The U.S. Small Business Administration expanded its Microloan program by tapping $50 million in funding for loans and $24 million for technical assistance authorized in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The SBA started using Recovery Act funds after exhausting its original fiscal year appropriation of $20 million for loans and $20 million for technical assistance.

 

The SBA’s Microloan program provides microlenders with up to $3.5 million in low-cost loans to finance lending to small businesses. The SBA’s interest rate to microlenders is based on the five-year Treasury rate, with adjustments tied to a microlender’s average loan size. Microlenders use the SBA funding to provide loans of up to $35,000 to entrepreneurs, which can be used for working capital and acquisition of materials, supplies, furniture, fixtures and equipment.

 

Information for lenders interested in participating in the Microloan program is available at tinyurl.com/n2sses. Information for entrepreneurs is available at tinyurl.com/2x4m24.

 

  The SBA launched an online training course it says will help strengthen access to contracting opportunities for small businesses, including those owned by women, minorities, disadvantaged individuals and veterans. The free training course, “Recovery Act Opportunities: How to Win Federal Contracts,” is part of a federal governmentwide initiative being led by the SBA and the Department of Commerce.

 

The course provides information about the federal marketplace, contract rules and how to sell to the government and where to find contract and Recovery Act opportunities. It also provides an overview of the federal procurement process.

 

The course is available at sba.gov/fedcontractingtraining. It is one of more than 24 online tutorials offered by the SBA. To access all courses, go to sba.gov and click on “Free Online Training” in the left rail.

 

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