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The Search Is On

Entrepreneurs and experts all agree: If you're willing to hunt around, you can score financing to get your homebased business off the ground.

This story appears in the June 2003 issue of Start Up.

When the SBA's Washington, DC, regional office set out to increase funding to homebased firms around the nation's capital, it took a uniquely aggressive approach: It created a loan program last August specifically for homebased entrepreneurs, one of the most underserved segments of the business credit industry. But there was just one hitch: It couldn't find a single local lender that was willing to make a loan as little as $5,000.

While Washington, DC, lenders were shunning the types of small loans homebased businesses needed, Innovative Bank, an Oakland, California, lender, was busy funding modest credit requests in major western cities, including San Francisco. Joseph Loddo, director of the SBA's Washington, DC, district, recruited Innovative Bank for his Small Office/Home Office (SOHO) lending initiative, which provides guaranteed loans of $5,000 to $25,000 to homebased firms and "small office" companies operating outside the home without employees.

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