The SBA: Much More Than Pandemic Relief Programs

If you applied for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), an Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL), a Shuttered Venue Grant (SVOG) or for relief through the Restaurant Revitalization Fund, you’ve been accessing the services of the Small Business Administration (SBA).

While the SBA is no longer accepting new applications for these programs (they continue to offer PPP loan forgiveness and EIDL increases), you can still benefit from long-standing loan programs intended to help small businesses grow and thrive.

If loan debt is still an option for you, these programs are strong options to help you expand or retool your business to meet the new realities. Here’s what to know about the 7(a), 504 and microloan programs offered by the SBA.

What is a 7(a) loan?

The 7(a) Loan Program, SBA’s most common loan program, includes financial help for small businesses with special requirements. This is the best option when real estate is part of a business purchase, but it can also be used for:

  • Short- and long-term working capital
  • Refinance current business debt
  • Purchase furniture, fixtures, and supplies

The maximum loan amount for a 7(a) loan is $5 million. Key eligibility factors are based on what the business does to receive its income, its credit history, and where the business operates. Your lender will help you figure out which type of loan is best suited for your needs.

What is the 504 loan program?

The Community Development Corporation (CDC) 504 Loan Program provides long-term, fixed rate financing of up to $5 million for major fixed assets that promote business growth and job creation.

504 loans are available through Certified Development Companies (CDCs), SBA’s community-based partners who regulate nonprofits and promote economic development within their communities. CDCs are certified and regulated by the SBA.

What is a microloan?

The microloan program provides loans up to $50,000 to help small businesses start up and expand. The average microloan is about $13,000.

SBA provides funds to specially designated intermediary lenders, which are nonprofit community-based organizations with experience in lending as well as management and technical assistance. These intermediaries administer the Microloan program for eligible borrowers.  Each microlender covers a specific geographic area so review the list of providers to select the one that operates in your area.

  • For more information, check out the resources on the Microloans page. Use the finder provided on the page to find a lender approved to handle these loans.

In addition to loan instruments, the Small Business Administration offers a wealth of information, success stories and access to programs and training. Nearly all of it is free of charge.


Photo credit: Photo by Scott Graham on Unsplash

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