The way Bonita Schwartz figured it, being a small-business owner and a woman to boot weren't helping at all in her search for a small-business loan. But the times may be changing as new technology and shifts in the lending industry conspire to make loans available to capital-hungry entrepreneurs.
Schwartz's story dates back to 1985 when she formed Schwartz Research Services Inc. in Tampa, Florida, offering consumer research services. By 1993, business was so good, she went looking for a loan to build a focus group facility and corporate headquarters. She naturally turned first to her bank, which had all her personal and business accounts, and applied for a $350,000 loan. "When the loan officer called to ask if I had gotten the business from my husband in a divorce," says Schwartz, "I knew the loan request was going to be turned down." She was right.