As we mentioned in previous posts, the SBA’s Community Advantage Program is a pilot initiative through which the SBA has extended participation in the 7(a) loan program to Community Development Corporations (“CDCs”), SBA-Authorized Microloan Intermediaries (entities participating in SBA’s Microloan Program), and Non-Federally Regulated Community Development Financial Institutions (“CDFIs”). One of the requirements of participation in the Community Advantage Program is that lenders provide borrowers with management and technical support. A great resource for both lenders and borrowers can be found through the SBA’s small business development center (“SBDC”) program. SBDCs are partnerships between the private sector, the academic community, and federal, state, and local governments. SBDCs, located in all 50 states, assist local ventures and entrepreneurs with the challenges that often face small businesses, including management and technological issues. In addition, SBDCs provide assistance with financial, marketing, production, organization, and engineering problems. All of the assistance provided by SBDCs is free and confidential.
The Association of Small Business Development Centers (the “ASBDC”), created by statute in 1980 and recognized by the federal government as the official small business assistance network, provides a comprehensive source for free business consulting. Lenders who wish to participate in the Community Advantage Program are required to offer management and technical assistance to small business borrowers and can gain key insights into how to provide such assistance by exploring the resources available at local SBDCs. The ASBDC website may be found here:
The SBA provides 50% of the funding for each local SBDC. While each SBDC is independently staffed and managed, training and assistance programs are usually operated in conjunction with the SBA’s district offices. SBA lenders should always be familiar with the SBA district offices which serve their key markets. Involvement with local SBDCs may provide great opportunities to interact with local SBA officials and may also provide such lenders with insight into the local small business communities that such lenders seek to assist. To learn more about the SBA’s SBDC program, visit the SBA’s Office of Small Business Development Centers website:
For more information or questions about the SBA’s lending programs, including the Community Advantage Program, please contact us today!