Norma Teran saw a need in Fresno County, California, for an employment agency that specialized in part-time and temporary dental personnel. After preparing a business plan, she determined she'd have to borrow $5,000 to finance her venture.
With business plan in hand, Teran visited the Valley Small Business Development Corp. in Fresno. "Getting a microloan was a snap," says the veteran dental assistant. "They helped me complete the paperwork that day, and 45 days later, I had the money." Teran bought furniture, supplies, a computer and software, using the balance of the loan for operating capital and marketing expenses. Today, she's celebrating the first anniversary of Dental Team Coordinator, serving Fresno and Kings counties from her home office in Sanger, California.
Like 34 other private, nonprofit organizations across the country selected by the Small Business Administration (SBA), Valley Small Business Development Corp. lends to small and start-up businesses that can't get loans from most banks, says Elizabeth Fields, management and technical assistant loan specialist for the Fresno agency.
Microloans ranging from about $100 to $25,000 have terms of up to six years and are available to all types of business owners, though some agencies target specific groups, such as women, low-income or minority entrepreneurs. For the microloan intermediary nearest you, call your local SBA office.
Paul De Ceglie is a former staff reporter for Journal of Commerce and American Banker. He can be reached at MrWritePDC@aol.com.