Teen Spirit

Micro Mania

By Cynthia E. Griffin

If you hear one more no from one more loan officer, you're going to do some serious damage to something. But wait: Before you hit the zap button, there's at least one more place you should look to for start-up or expansion capital for your business. Where, you ask? Why, your friendly neighborhood microlender, of course.

OK, so maybe these microlenders don't exactly reside next door. But the microlending industry in the United States is growing by leaps and bounds--making these small pots of money easier to find than ever before.

Below, you'll find programs in some of the largest states, with information about their requirements. If you don't see a city close to yours listed, call your nearest Small Business Development Center (listed in the government pages of your phone book) and ask them to direct you to a microloan or revolving loan fund.

For information on even more microloan programs, visit our Web site at http://www.bizstartups.com

  • California Economic Development Lending Initiative--amount: up to $50,000; criteria: administered by intermediaries statewide (criteria vary with each organization); region: California; contact: (510) 267-8990
  • Illinois Development Finance Authority--amount: up to $25,000; criteria: unable to obtain a conventional loan; region: Illinois; contact: (312) 793-5586
  • Southern Dallas Development Corp.--amount: up to $25,000, criteria: administered by intermediaries (criteria vary with each organization); region: Dallas; contact: (214) 428-7332
  • SBA Microloan Program--amount: up to $25,000; criteria: administered by intermediaries (criteria vary with each organization); region: nationwide; contact: http://www.sba.gov/financing/microparticipants.html

Karen E. Spaeder is a freelance business writer in Southern California.

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This article was originally published in the October 1999 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Teen Spirit.

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