The Small Business Administration (SBA) is the first place every start-up business person and entrepreneur thinks they should go for small business grants. There is good and bad news on this: Yes, it is a great first place to go when you are starting your business because they provide free counseling and financial assistance, however, the SBA itself does not hand out free grant money to start or expand a business. Anyone who tells you otherwise is mistaken, or pulling your leg.
The SBA is an independent agency of the federal government and its purpose has remained the same since its creation in 1953. According to their website the purpose of the SBA is "To aid, counsel, assist and protect the interests of small business concerns, to preserve free competitive enterprise and to maintain and strengthen the overall economy of our nation." The primary way in which the SBA does this is not by providing grants, but by administering low interest loans, or loan guarantees, which give small business owners like you access to start-up money from private lenders all over the nation. These are loans that you might not otherwise be able to get without the guarantee from the small business administration. The SBA does not directly provide you with small business financing, they are an intermediary and they contract with private lending institutions in every State. A loan guarantee from SBA gives a bank the added security it needs to lend you money. If the borrower's business doesn't get off the ground as quickly as planned and the business ends up defaulting on the loan the SBA will repay all or part of the loan - usually about 40% of the loan will be guaranteed.
This type of financial assistance may not be as good as free grant money, but if it is money you can actually get your hands on reasonably quickly, on decent terms, and the repayment schedule can fit within your budget, then it's a great deal and probably your best option as far as financial assistance from the Small Business Administration. If you need a line of credit at any point in your business start-up or expansion, be sure to check out these SBA resources. Keep in mind that even if in the past you have been unable to borrow money elsewhere, it doesn't mean you won't be able to get business financing now. A loan guarantee from SBA will help you secure financing when it would otherwise be unobtainable based on your credit, perceived ability to repay the loan and other factors. They also have programs and ways of streamlining the application procedures necessary to provide financial assistance to the small business community.
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