IACCGH Small Business Outreach Networking Reception and Lecture with Manuel Gonzalez
IACCGH Small Business Outreach Program's purpose is to provide community business professionals with tools and information to grow their businesses and create jobs in the Houston area. This outreach also assists community members with guidance that will assist them in starting a small business. IACCGH has promoted small business in the past 12 years of the Chamber's existence and has partnered with agencies that help small businesses succeed. The SBA is one of those agencies.
The Indo-American Chamber of Commerce of Greater Houston had the pleasure of having District Director, Manuel Gonzalez, U.S. Small Business Administration, Houston give a talk at this month's Small Business Outreach, benefiting small businesses.
“Created by Congress in 1953, the SBA is an independent federal agency with a mission to aid, assist, counsel, and protect small business. We accomplish this mission through a variety of programs and with a variety of partners. As the nation's largest single financial backer of small business, the SBA guarantees loans made by private lenders or certified development companies.”
Mr. Gonzalez provided a list of the many programs and services that the SBA offers such as; capital/financial assistance, contracting assistance (8a, HUBZone & woman-owned small business programs), counseling, training, disaster assistance, advocacy, laws/regulations, implement special initiatives like the Young Entrepreneurs and Start-up America to name a few. His talk was centered on an overview of the following three SBA Loan Guarantee Programs offered by the SBA; 7(a) Guaranty Loan Program, 504 Debenture and SBAEXPRESS Loan. He expressed that many well known companies like Nike, AOL, Apple Computer and others have taken advantage of such loans.
The 7(a) program is the very basic type of loan the SBA offers to small businesses. In fact, to be precise, it is not a loan per se, but a guaranty that the SBA provides participant lenders, thus making it easier for them to make a small business loan they otherwise wouldn't touch. The 7(a) loan program has a maximum loan amount of $5 million with a guaranty of 75 percent. The lower the amount you need, the higher the guaranty can go, up to 85 percent on loans of $150,000 or less.
The SBA encourages longer terms, but actual loan maturities are based on the purpose of the loan and the useful life of the assets financed. In general, though, 7(a) loan maturities can go from seven years for working capital, to a maximum of 25 years for land and buildings, or debt refinancing.
Finally, interest rates are negotiated between the borrower and the lender. However, since interest rates can be an important factor in the repayment ability of borrowers, the SBA has established limits that vary according to the size and maturity of the loan.
He communicated that the 504 loan program is a long-term/fixed-rate financing tool for major fixed assets. The SBAEXPRESS Loans are expedited loan processing and closing. Lenders use internal loan documents, not SBA documents. This particular loan program has the same criteria as the standard 7(a) Guaranty loan Program.
For detailed information about SBA programs and services, visit the SBA Web site at http://www.sba.gov/financing/index.html.
Ajit Thakur, President of IACCGH, thanked Mr. Gonzalez and Mark Winchester, SBA, Katrina Lava of Wells Fargo Bank, Priscilla Burroughs of Port of Houston, for sharing beneficial information with event attendees. Jagdip Ahluwalia, Executive Director of IACCGH, expressed the importance of small businesses connecting and building relationships with other organizations such as SBA, Wells Fargo, Port of Houston and Greater Houston Business Procurement Forum. He also expressed that Houston has many resources and encouraged all IACCGH members, guests and supporters of the Chamber to make a strong effort to seek those resources and utilize them in their effort to improve and succeed in their business.