If You Don't Know What You Don't Know...You Are Not Alone!

SBA Region 7 Great Plains Office  -May 2020

u s small business administration

You’re Not Alone

It’s a great time to partner with the SBA to start or expand small businesses in America

 

By Vercie Lark, Great Plains Region 7 Administrator, U.S. Small Business Administration

Region 7 Great Plains Administrator Vercie Lark

As a former small business owner, I struggled to secure low-cost capital early in my journey of acquiring residential income investment property and opening a retail gas and convenience store franchise in the 1980s. Starting in my mid 20s and like millions of other aspiring businesses owners, I lacked experience owning a business but possessed a strong desire to invest where I lived, provide jobs and improve lives in the low-income community I grew up in.

 After numerous turn downs, I even considered an SBA-backed loan from the very bank I had been a consumer of decades.  But I did not pursue it.  Frustrated, I decided to go it alone.  I secured a very high interest loan, tapped into my retirement savings, and used cash to get and keep going.  I never looked back, and because of that I never knew all the SBA has to offer until my recent appointment as the SBA Great Plains Regional Administrator.

As we finish up celebrating National Small Business Week, it is critically important we let aspiring and existing small business owners know how the SBA can help fuel their businesses.  They are not alone.

Did you know the SBA in Kansas, Missouri, Iowa and Nebraska funded business counseling, free or low-cost training or technical assistance to almost 65,000 people in FY2021?   The SBA has a vast network of resources to help business owners from idea to exit.  SBA Women’s Business Centers advise women business owners. Another useful service is the free counseling provided by SCORE on starting, operating, or expanding and a network of Small Business Development Centers in addition to a Veterans Business Outreach Center that supports veterans and veterans’ families. Most recently, SBA awarded $100 million in funding to eligible non-profits through the Community Navigators Pilot Program, designed to connect people in underserved areas to SBA assistance.

In our region, the SBA guaranteed more than $1.5 billion in loans to over 2,650 businesses in FY2021.  SBA lending networks provide everything from low-cost micro loans of $500 – $350,000 to fuel early stage and startups through microlenders and mission focused Community Development Corporations (CDCs) and Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) located in rural and low-income communities. A variety of other SBA lender guaranteed loans can go up to $5 million to help businesses grow.

The SBA has one mission: Building A Better America Through Entrepreneurship.  Looking back on my personal small business journey I know I could have been a more successful small business owner had I leveraged the power of the SBA.

Rather than go it alone, contact us at  www.sba.gov to find an SBA office near you to start, grow, and expand your business.