It’s just a start, but Congress appears ready to help small businesses gain access to more capital.

Last week the U.S. House of Representatives approved the Small Business Financing Investment Act (H.R. 3854), clearing the way for more small business financial resources.

Congressional supporters said most Small Business Administration programs hadn’t been updated for 10 years or more.

The 7(a) SBA loans would make up the largest authorization in the bill, with $20 billion authorized in the next two fiscal years. In addition to that $20 billion, the measure would also authorize $60 million during the next two years to businesses working to use renewable fuel sources.

The SBA’s microloan program would increase the amount borrowers may obtain during the first year from $750,000 to $1 million. Private lenders who process and fund SBA loans will be permitted to approve them more quickly.

Nearly $20 billion would also be set aside for nonprofit companies working to develop communities.

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Small businesses may be eligible to receive loans from these nonprofit firms by meeting certain criteria, such as the creation of jobs or other activities. The Senate also approved a measure to extend the Small Business Administration’s Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer programs through early next year.


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