Bucking The System

Follow The Yellow Brick Road

Zelmanovitch says that today there are SBICs and SSBICs that specialize in a wide variety of industries, from broadcasting and franchising to manufacturing, among others. Moreover, this concentration leads to a more aggressive lending style and a greater likelihood that the lending firm will venture where banks will not.

Tracking down SBICs and SSBICs is fairly easy. The National Association of Investment Companies (NAIC) consists of SSBICs as well as other investment companies focusing on minority investments. The NAIC does not have a referral service but sells its directory for $30. You can write to the NAIC at 1111 14th St. N.W., #700, Washington, DC 20005 or call (202) 289-4336.

The National Association of Small Business Investment Companies (NASBIC) is a trade group made up exclusively of SBICs and SSBICs. The NASBIC sells its membership directory for $25. Write to the NASBIC at 666 11th St. N.W., #750, Washington, DC 20001 or call (202) 628-5055.

When you track down an SBIC or SSBIC you're interested in approaching, there is perhaps one other test you might want to be ready for. "We look at every deal on a case-by-case basis," says Zelmanovitch. "Sure, we look for stability, but we also look the person in the eyes to see if we'll get repaid."

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This article was originally published in the June 1998 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Bucking The System.

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